The former operations manager for the Moline Public Library has filed a discrimination suit against the city, the library and library director Leslie Kee, who is retiring at the end of the week.
Mary B. Clark filed the suit in U.S. District Court, Rock Island, on Monday, alleging that her position was eliminated at the end of December in retaliation for her complaints about Kee.
Clark, who had worked for the library for 24 years, claims that she made a formal complaint in July 2008 to the library board of trustees on behalf of herself and other employees, complaining that Kee created a hostile work environment by managing through intimidation and engaging in vulgar and offensive behavior based on sexual, racial and national origin stereotypes.
According to the suit, the city and library conducted an investigation into the complaint and notified Kee. The suit claims that Kee was reprimanded for her behavior in September.
In October, Kee recommended to the library board that it eliminate the operations manager position to address budget shortfalls. The board agreed and Clark was dismissed from her job Dec. 31, the suit states.
Jeff Lester, the city's law director, said he has seen a draft of the lawsuit but not the one filed Monday.
"We consider it baseless," he said of the allegations, "and we will defend it vigorously."
Lester said there is "absolutely no connection" between the filing of the suit and Kee's decision to retire. He said she made the decision "long before anything developed with Ms. Clark" and that the city has been seeking Kee's replacement for some time.
Efforts to reach Kee for comment were not immediately successful.
The suit alleges that Clark has suffered mental anguish, damage to her career, damage to her reputation, pain and suffering, and lost wages and benefits. It does not seek a specific amount of damages.
Clark is being represented by Davenport attorney Dorothy O'Brien.