MONTICELLO – The trial for the former Piatt County Emergency Services Agency Director who alleges the county violated the federal Family and Medical Leave Act by cutting his pay while he was on FMLA leave has been extended once again, at the request of both parties.
Last week, the plaintiff, Michael Holmes, and the county, filed a joint motion for extension of time to complete discovery. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Hawley granted the motions and set a deadline for discovery – evidence in the case – for Feb. 28, 2023. A final pretrial conference was reset for Aug. 7 and jury trial is slated to begin Aug. 29.
In February 2021, Holmes filed suit against the county in the Central District of Illinois District Court claiming federal law was violated when the county informed him that he would be considered “resigned” if he did not return to work with the lesser pay upon the expiration of his FMLA leave on Jan. 25. Court documents indicated his director’s salary of $37,740 was reduced to $16,000 as of Dec. 1, 2020 when the new fiscal year started. The county board effectively cut his salary when it approved the budget for the fiscal year on Oct. 28, 2020.
In his lawsuit, Holmes is asking the court to reinstate him as EMA director at the same rate of salary and benefits as last fiscal year or to a comparable position. It also asks for damages due to economic loss and for court costs.
Rob Bross is now the EMA director for the county.
Holmes was hired in June 2018 and proposed a tripling of his budget for 2019-2020 including a salary bump from $37,740 to $65,000.
He said the increase was necessary to bring the department into a full-time agency.