URBANA – The Champaign County Board chastised the county's supervisor of assessments Thursday night, and at least two members want him to resign.
But his lawyer said this morning he will not resign, and emphasized that the board formally cleared Curt Deedrich of harassment allegations.
The Champaign County Board voted to go beyond its 10 p.m. deadline to go into closed session to discuss allegations by three employees against Deedrich.
The board then voted overwhelmingly to support a resolution that Deedrich "is admonished for his inappropriate behavior in referring to an employee in a derogatory manner," also encouraging him to re-establish trust and communications with his subordinates.
However, the resolution said Deedrich did not engage in harassment as defined by the law or county policy.
Deedrich frequently used an insulting term to refer to women in his office, a former worker, Laura Sandefur, said in an interview. She said he also encouraged workers to spy on each other. Two other women in the office lodged similar complaints against Deedrich.
Deedrich could not be reached today for comment. His lawyer, Glenn Stanko, said he believes Deedrich is out of town.
"The first point and the main point is the board cleared Curt of allegations of harassment," Stanko said. "We're pleased with that."
He also said Deedrich used the word "bitch" once to refer to a worker in his office, at a meeting of supervisors, and the worker was not present. "I think that one incident got repeated (by others) multiple times. ... Never in his wildest dreams did he expect someone would go report that remark to the individual."
Still, some board members were outspoken in their personal comments on Thursday.
"I personally encourage him to resign," said Democrat Brendan McGinty. "He nods his head, then does whatever he pleases."
Republican Greg Knott called the matter the most troubling in his years on the board.
"The honorable thing for Curt would be to resign," he said.
Deedrich will "absolutely not" resign, Stanko said. "Curt is a hard-working, dedicated public servant. ... My take on this is 'harassment' is merely a code word for 'I don't like the decisions that the boss has made.'"
Complaints were first lodged against Deedrich a year ago. In February, the locks on his office were changed after he was placed on indefinite administrative leave, with pay. That decision was overturned the next day.
Board members complained that in closed session, Deedrich was represented by Stanko, but the women did not have a representative there.
Board member Steve Beckett said that if he'd known the women wanted a representative, he was sure they could have.
At the meeting Thursday, Sandefur said she was "disappointed" for the women still in the assessor's office.
"They work so hard, and to be treated like this," she said, crying.