Kan. County Employees Split $137,500 Settlement

August 23, 2006

Two former employees of the Ford County Attorney’s Office in Kansas are splitting a $137,500 settlement after accusing a former county attorney of harassment and wrongful firing.

Julie Funk, a former assistant county attorney, and former office manager Erin Cox reached a settlement with the county’s liability insurance carrier in July but did not disclose the agreement until last week.

“This was an open-and-shut case,” said attorney David Rebein, who represented the women. “It was a case that was settled because it couldn’t be defended.”

According to a complaint filed with the Kansas Human Rights Commission, Funk accused John Sauer of harassment, discrimination and cutting her salary in the six months after he took office. She also said that after the Ford County Commission reinstated her salary, she was fired.

Cox was listed as a witness in Funk’s complaint against Sauer and later filed her own complaint alleging harassment. She also said she was fired for her involvement in Funk’s case.

Ford County’s legal adviser, Glenn Kerbs, said the settlement does not require the county to admit liability or wrongdoing. Beyond that, he declined to comment.

Sauer said Friday that the two women opposed his candidacy for county attorney and that they continued to oppose him after he took office.

“They are the ones who created a hostile work environment,” he said. “I fired them so that we could get to the business of prosecuting criminals and making our community safer.”

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