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Published: Wednesday, 8/13/2003

Election board sued by former employee

A former top assistant at the Lucas County Board of Elections yesterday filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in county Common Pleas Court.

Marie Dilgart of Sylvania, who worked 23 years for the board, is asking the court to award her back wages, lost compensation, and other fringe benefits she would have gotten had she remained employed as executive assistant to the director. She also is asking for unspecified punitive damages.

The board of elections and Joseph Kidd, elections director, were named as defendants in the complaint. The case was assigned to Judge Frederick McDonald.

When Ms. Dilgart left in June, 2002, the elections office had recently emerged from investigations that were conducted by the prosecutor's office and the Ohio Secretary of State. A 38-page report issued by Prosecutor Julia Bates alleged turmoil and confusion between workers and supervisors.

The suit claims Mr. Kidd asked Ms. Dilgart to resign June 10, 2002, offering to pay her for accrued vacation through Aug. 27, 2002. However, Ms. Dilgart said she refused to submit her resignation.

She said Mr. Kidd cited “pressure from a member of the local media” and an anonymous letter alleging “misconduct by an unidentified secretary” as the reasons for her dismissal.

However, Ms. Dilgart alleges that Mr. Kidd told the elections board staff she'd resigned. She said the board of elections was required to vote in open session to terminate her employment.

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