County VA Director Files Discrimination Complaint

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By Ryan Jones

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — The executive director of Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs is accusing the county board of discrimination in a complaint filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that Bennie Spain's complaint accuses county supervisors of discriminating against him based on his race and in retaliation for a previous compliant he filed with the EEOC in December 2009.

Spain says that for two months last year, the board denied him access to public agendas and kept him from presenting agenda items.

Spain, who is African-American and has served as county VA director since 1985, has filed several discrimination complaints and lawsuits against the county and its supervisors over the years.

That includes a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission in 1987, claiming he was denied raises and was underpaid because of his race. A state investigator agreed Spain was underpaid at the time, but found no evidence of discrimination.

Spain sued the county supervisors in U.S. District Court in 1993 and 1994, contending he was denied raises based on his race and alleging supervisors "maliciously conspired to avoid equal pay scales." Both lawsuits were withdrawn before going to trial.

The 2009 EEOC complaint followed an incident when an auditor discovered nude pictures on Spain's work computer. Spain denied downloading the images, saying he could prove using the building's security system that he was not in the office when some of the images allegedly were downloaded.

He later sued the auditing firm for slander and libel.

The EEOC found no discrimination in the incident, and Spain dropped the lawsuit.

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