James Ingram

Former St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney drank on the job, bullied employees and groped his female office staff, according to an investigation conducted by Laura K. Beasley, the St. Clair County Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.

The investigation – the result of a complaint by a former clerk employee, Laura Romero, who was fired by Delaney – ultimately led to his resignation after 34 years of public service.

The allegations are based upon 20 employee interviews. Four employees said that Delaney behaved inappropriately, seven women said that Delaney grabbed their buttocks and 13 women said that Delaney kissed them on the “face, cheek and lips.”

There were also allegations that Delaney taunted a hearing-impaired worker, routinely used racial slurs and even threatened to remove all “Mexicans” from the office.

As the result of these alleged acts of harassment, Delaney walked away from a $100,870 salary, saying, “I’m not going to put my wife and kids and employees through this. I am going out with my head held high.”

That’s an obviously poor attempt to put a good face on an ugly situation.

Not to worry, though. The former clerk will be eligible to receive an annual pension of $80,000 per year when he turns 55 next May. That’s called a “golden parachute,” my friends.

The St. Clair County Board has acted swiftly by unanimously approving former Illinois state representative Tom Holbrook as the new county clerk, which smacks of St. Clair County “poli-tricks” as usual in selecting such an obvious political replacement.

Of course, Delaney is innocent until proven guilty. But it doesn’t help the appearance of innocence when he is so willing to just walk away from over three decades of public service without a fight. Nor does it help his credibility when no staff members are willing to come to his defense.

If these allegations prove to be false and motivated by some political ploy, I hope that Delaney’s good name is restored with the same enthusiasm and vigor with which it was besmirched. And if his accusers are exposed as political opportunists, then their names and reputations should be dragged through the same mud in which Delaney now wallows.

However, if Delaney did in fact run his office as if it were a plantation, with sexual harassment, racial discrimination and bullying of staff, then he deserves to be ousted – without the cushy $80,000-a-year parachute.

If you like my column, then you will love my radio show on WGNU-920am every Sunday from 4-5 pm. Please tune-in and call-in. I love to hear from my St. Louis American readers.

Email: jtingram_1960@yahoo.com; Twitter@JamesTIngram.

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