WATERLOO, Iowa --- A federal agency has dismissed a discrimination complaint a department head filed against the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has closed a complaint filed against the supervisors in January by Bennie Spain, executive director of Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs.
"Based upon its investigation, the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes," the agency said in an April 9 letter.
Following the ruling, Spain has 90 days to file a lawsuit in federal or state court if he wishes to pursue the matter further.
Spain, who is black, claimed the county supervisors discriminated against him due to his race and in retaliation for a previous complaint he filed with the EEOC in December 2009. He said the discrimination involved denying him access to public meeting agendas and preventing him from presenting agenda items to the Board of Supervisors.
While Spain said he was disappointed in the decision, it was not unexpected.
"They don't really do an investigation," he said. "They just take what (the supervisors) say about it. But I will always address something that's wrong."
Spain has filed numerous discrimination complaints and lawsuits against the county and the Board of Supervisors since being hired in 1985.
The Iowa Civil Rights Commission found no evidence of discrimination in a 1987 pay complaint. Two U.S. District Court cases based on Spain's pay in 1993 and 1994 were withdrawn before going to trial.
The 2009 EEOC complaint against the supervisors followed an incident when an auditor discovered images of nudes on Spain's work computer and reported it to the supervisors. Spain denied downloading the images and later sued the auditing firm, McGladrey & Pullen, for slander and libel.
The EEOC found no discrimination in the incident, and Spain later dropped the lawsuit against the auditors.