Vermilion Co., IL. (ECWd) -
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Nikki Bogart wins round 2:
An Administrative Law Judge for the Illinois Department of Employment Security ruled in a Decision issued recently that Nikki Bogart did not commit misconduct or insubordination as defined by Illinois law. After seven and a half years of distinguished service as Vermilion County's Financial Resources Director, Nikki was fired, without warning, on January 30th by new County Board Chairman, Mike Marron. Not only was she subjected to an immediate termination, but Mr. Marron also contested her right to receive unemployment benefits.
Nikki was not given a reason for her termination on January 30th and had to request a grievance hearing just to obtain one. Mr. Marron alleged, both in filings with the IDES and at the grievance hearing, that he fired Nikki for "gross misconduct" and "insubordination." However, after a full hearing with evidence submitted by both sides, the IDES Administrative Law Judge found no evidence for these allegations. His written Decision, attached, states:
The evidence showed that with respect to the incident which precipitated [Nikki Bogart's] termination, the claimant followed the exact same procedure she had followed many times previously, without objection. The evidence did not show that she acted improperly or did anything outside the scope of her duties and authority… Finally, the evidence did not support the County's contention that the claimant was insubordinate.
The IDES hearing was the first opportunity for us to rebut the charge that Nikki committed misconduct. Mr. Marron only revealed why he fired Nikki after her presentation to the grievance committee and she was not allowed to offer any rebuttal. Instead of standing up and defending the serious charges of "gross misconduct" and "insubordination" that Mr. Marron has been leveling at Nikki, Mr. Marron was a no-show for the IDES hearing.
I find it outrageous that Mr. Marron would subject Nikki to a termination without any explanation, contest her ability to get unemployment benefits by alleging she committed gross misconduct and insubordination, and then not even show up to the hearing to explain those serious charges. I said after the grievance hearing that Mr. Marron could not offer any explanation for why he fired Nikki and he has apparently agreed with me. Mr. Marron has refused to answer questions from fellow county board members, taxpayers, and the media on why he fired Nikki because he has no answers to those questions.
I am happy, though, that Nikki will now finally be receiving some income. I know these past few months have been hard on her financially. No one should have to go through what Nikki has gone through just because of how they vote. This is America, after all. This was an important first lesson to Mr. Marron that in America no one is above the law. Now that an evidentiary hearing has proved that there was no basis for Nikki's termination for "gross misconduct" and "insubordination," the next step will be a civil lawsuit to prove the true reason Mr. Marron fired Nikki: her legally protected political involvement outside of work.
The IDES decision is attached.
Attorney for Nikki Bogart
Matthew J. Duco | Associate Attorney
Phone | 217-443-4343
Website | www.spiroslaw.com