Man Who Won Whistle-blower Suit Wants Job Back

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) — The former maintenance director of a southeast Iowa county who won his whistle-blower lawsuit says he deserves his job back, too.

Rick Carter of Lee County was fired in 2010. His lawsuit alleged that he was fired because he reported problems with the Lee County Jail during its construction and accused the county board of malfeasance.

On Monday, a jury awarded Carter $141,000 in back wages and $45,000 in lost benefits.

"If you look at the law, they have to give me my job back, give me another county job or give me some money," he told the Burlington Hawk Eye on Wednesday. "I don't know what they will do, because they seem to do everything the hard way."

Curtis Dial, Carter's attorney, has filed a motion for the judge to order his client's reinstatement and for the county to pay his legal fees of more than $19,000. He was more cautious about whether Carter will get his job back.

"I don't think there is a lot of case law on the whistle-blower statute," Dial said. "If you look at the statute the way I do, it appears it's mandatory they give him his job back. But I don't know."

The county has since dismantled Carter's position and distributed maintenance director duties to other employees.

District Judge Mary Ann Brown has not set a date to hear Carter's request. But she is expected to do so when the county decides if it will set aside the verdict or seek a new trial. The county's attorney has 15 days to file post-trial motions.

Board members Rick Larkin, Ernie Schiller and Gary Folluo didn't return calls seeking comment.
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