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Former Woodbury County employee sues county, supervisor for age discrimination

Woodbury County, and county supervisor Matthew Ung, are named in an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the county’s former human resources director.

In the suit, filed last week, Ed Gilliland claims the county, and Ung, discriminated against him, and fired him in January, in violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act. The 64-year-old Gilliland said, in the suit, that age was a motivating factor.

Gilliland says, in 2016, shortly after Ung became the board’s vice chairman, and Jeremy Taylor became the board’s chairman, they quote “began a crusade to rid the County of its older managers and employees.”

Gilliland claims the county board would “fabricate” performance issues about older department heads, and find ways to eliminate the positions held by those older employees… only to replace them with younger people. He uses as examples former planning and zoning department head John Pylelo, and former juvenile detention center director Mark Olsen.

Gilliland has asked for a jury trial. He’s seeking unspecified damages, injunctive relief which may include his reinstatement, and attorneys fees.

Representatives of Woodbury County say they just received the lawsuit paperwork on Monday.

“At this point, our county attorney has not had an opportunity to look at it to issue a comment,” said Rocky DeWitt, Woodbury County Board of Supervisors Chairman. “So we’re waiting for legal counsel to get back with us so we can move forward with this.”

Supervisor Matthew Ung is out of the country, but in an e-mail to News 4, Ung said he had “no comment” on the lawsuit.

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Matt Breen

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