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Ex-official sues Will County Health Department

Updated: March 13, 2014 6:46AM



The former head of the Will County Community Health Center is suing for her old job back and claims she was fired for pointing out the department was not in compliance with federal regulations.

Mary McHugh-Coffey filed a lawsuit against the Will County Health Department in Will County Circuit Court last week.

She alleges in court papers that Will County Health Department officials violated the Illinois Whistleblower Act when she was fired in February 2013.

McHugh-Coffey said in the court filing that during the summer of 2012 she reported to the federal government that the health center and the health department were not following federal regulations regarding funding and programs. Those regulations were not listed in the complaint.

McHugh-Coffey’s attorney did not return calls seeking comment. A call to Will County Health Department Executive Director John Cicero seeking comment also was not returned.

Also named in the suit are human resources Director Bruce Tidwell and administrative services Director Sue Olenek

The lawsuit claims that McHugh-Coffey was subject to a “retaliatory investigation” by health department officials soon after she reported that federal regulations were not being followed. She said the defendants attempted to issue “corrective action” against her and ultimately fired her stating they had “lost confidence” in her.

McHugh-Coffey is suing for at least $100,000, including back pay, attorney fees and reinstatement of her position. She began working for the center as chief operating officer in 2004 and promoted to CEO in 2008.

The next court hearing is scheduled for May 27.



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