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Lauderdale v. Illinois Dept. of Human Services

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

September 28, 2016

MARYBETH LAUDERDALE, Plaintiff,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, MICHELLE SADDLER, sued in her individual capacity, ROBERT KILBURY, sued in his individual capacity, FRANCISCO ALVERADO, sued in his individual capacity, and PATRICK J. QUINN, III, sued in his individual capacity, Defendants.

          OPINION

          Richard Mills United States District Judge

         In her Amended Complaint, Plaintiff Marybeth Lauderdale asserts that Defendant Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) violated her rights pursuant to the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”), 29 U.S.C. § 206(d).

         The Plaintiff has also filed claims asserting that DHS and the individual Defendants violated her rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, by discriminating against her based on her gender.

         At the end of the day, Lauderdale cannot prevail on either theory.

         I. FACTS

         A. Background

         Plaintiff Marybeth Lauderdale worked for DHS at the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) from October 1990 until July of 2012. In 2006, the Plaintiff became Acting Superintendent of the School for the Deaf and began earning an annual salary of $77, 388. On September 1, 2010, the Plaintiff became the Interim Dual Superintendent for the School for the Visually Impaired (ISVI) and ISD. In March 2011, the Plaintiff became the Permanent Dual Superintendent for the ISVI and the ISD. As both the Dual Superintendent and Permanent Dual Superintendent, the Plaintiff received an annual total salary in excess of $106, 000. The Plaintiff claims that 5% of her salary was for bilingual (sign language) pay.

         Reggie Clinton was the superintendent of the ISVI in 2002 and 2003. According to an exhibit which purports to show his salary history, Clinton's annual salary in July 2003 at the time he left his employment was $93, 336. In 2003, Clinton accepted a job as superintendent of Arcola District Schools where he earned an annual salary of $118, 794. Clinton returned to ISVI as Superintendent from January 2008 to June 2010 and earned an annual salary of $121, 116.00.

         B. Facts pertaining to pay plan

         The Illinois Personnel Code, at 20 ILCS 415/8a, directs Central Management Services (CMS) to promulgate administrative rules to govern compensation of positions in state service. Pursuant to Section 8a of the Illinois Personnel Code, CMS promulgated the Pay Plan. The CMS Transactions manual is a guide that state agencies use in order to properly implement the CMS Pay Plan.

         The Defendants allege that pursuant to the CMS Pay Plan, CMS sets a specific salary range for a particular position and no one in DHS has input on salary range. The Plaintiff disputes the allegation and states that DHS personnel-specifically Sherrie Bridges and Defendant Francisco Alvarado--were involved in getting the position set up with CMS. Moreover, DHS decided to set up the position as a Senior Public Service Administrator, which determined the salary range.

         The Defendants next assert that pursuant to the CMS Pay Plan and the Transaction Manual, an employee's salary is set by considering the salary range of the position and the individual's most recent salary. The Plaintiff disputes this on the basis that Defendants rely on Illinois Administrative Code Section 310.460, which applies to promotions. The Plaintiff contends she was not given a promotion. Rather, she was hired into a newly created position and given additional duties. Moreover, the Plaintiff further contends that a salary increase can be made for basically any reason determined by the agency decision makers.

         The Defendants allege that, pursuant to the CMS Pay Plan and the Transaction Manual, a new employee or a former state employee who is reinstated will not receive more than 5% of their most recent salary, unless a higher percentage is needed to bring the individual's salary to the bottom of the salary range for that position. The Plaintiff disputes the allegation and claims that the Pay Plan allows for a special salary increase above 5% for basically any reason determined by the agency decision makers and they are not limited to the bottom of the salary range.

         Pursuant to the CMS Pay Plan, an employee cannot be paid more than the top number of the salary range set by CMS. If an agency wishes to give an employee more than a 5% salary increase, multiple steps must be taken including, in some instances, a decision memo and a special salary request form referred to as the CMS 183.

         C. Dual superintendent position

         To create a new position at a state agency, a CMS 104 form must be completed. This form includes a job description and a salary range.

         The Plaintiff was the first and only person to hold the position of Dual Superintendent. The Plaintiff was offered 5% more than her previous salary to take the Dual Superintendent position. The Plaintiff notes that this was actually a counteroffer to her request for a $130, 000 yearly salary, plus additional benefits and personnel re-allocations to assist her. The Plaintiff declined the Defendants' counteroffer by making a counteroffer, requesting a yearly salary of $115, 000 and an additional 5% with her bilingual pay, which the Plaintiff states would have resulted in a total of $120, 750.

         At some point, Defendant Saddler received approval from the Governor's Office and Governor's Office of Management and Budget to offer the Plaintiff a salary above 5% over her most recent salary. In response to the Plaintiff's counteroffer, on July 30, 2010, Defendant Alvarado offered the Plaintiff a salary of $100, 000, plus the additional 5%. The Plaintiff made another counteroffer of $112, 350, which would have been a 27.5% increase. She further asserts that the Defendants had already refused to pay her an equal amount to Reggie Clinton.

         On July 30, 2010, Alvarado sent an email to Saddler and others at DHS noting the Plaintiff's most recent counteroffer and inquiring as to how to proceed. The same day, Saddler sent an email to the Governor's Chief of Staff, Jerome Sterner; the Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff, Toni Irving; and the Director of the Governor's Office of Management and Budget, David Vaught. The email stated:

Please advise on Marybeth's request below for a 27.5% salary increase. I am concerned that in the current climate, even 19% is pushing the limits of public acceptability - even though we are asking her to assume two full-time superintendent positions. We have posted the position and may need to say that her salary needs are simply above what can be approved. We may need to hire someone else, and hence we may need to reach out to our various Jacksonville partners.
Please let me know if you disagree.
Thank you Jerry,
Michelle

Doc. No. 58-14 (Exh. L). The Plaintiff reiterates that the decision to offer her less than Clinton had already been made. Irving responded by saying Saddler should start interviewing replacements.

         The Plaintiff accepted a salary of $106, 500, which was a 21% increase over her salary as Superintendent of ISD. The Defendants submitted a special salary request form, called a CMS 163, to CMS in order to give the Plaintiff a raise of over 5% from her most recent salary.

         Defendant Saddler testified she was not aware of any other employee during her tenure at DHS receiving as high an increase as 21% over a previous salary. In response, the Plaintiff states no one had ever been asked to assume all of the duties of the superintendent of one of the schools and remain the superintendent of the other one. The Plaintiff's salary as dual superintendent was higher than that of her two immediate supervisors, Defendant Alvarado, Assistant Director of the Division of Rehabilitative Services and Defendant Kilbury, Director of the Division of Rehabilitative Services. In response, the Plaintiff claims that the positions held by those individuals were not similar in terms ...


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