ST. LOUIS COUNTY (Tuesday, February 11, 2020) -- Yesterday, St. Louis County settled the discrimination lawsuit with Lt. Keith Wildhaber.
I want to start by recognizing Lt. Wildhaber’s experience – no one should be made to feel less than by their employer because of who they love. Discrimination is not the path forward for us as people, nor is it the way we should get ahead as a county.
The $10.25M settlement was fair compromise to both Lt. Wildhaber and the County. It serves as compensation for what Lt. Wildhaber experienced, but it also saved the County at least $11M.
The entirety of the settlement will be paid from the County’s General Revenue. I know there has been concern about how the County will cover this, and I assure you that none of the funds will be redirected from Prop P. Voters adopted Proposition P to fund public safety investments, and that is where that money will stay. Instead, we are planning to bond the settlement out of the General Fund. We expect to be reimbursed by our insurance carriers and these funds will get back in to the General Fund.
This case was a symptom of the discrimination that is pervasive in our culture. It is not something that can be blamed on any one person or department. It is, however, a significant message for the County, and all of us who care about fair treatment. Discrimination isn’t always obvious. It is even more likely to be quiet and insidious.
My administration has made it clear that discrimination – of any kind – will not be tolerated. We are consistently working toward policies and legislation that turn these values into action. This is not simply a County issue. It is the responsibility of every St. Louis County resident, Missourian, and American to be a voice for the most vulnerable in our society.
Today, we continue dialogues about our future and how St. Louis County can lead the change to prevent and address discrimination – whether that is in the community or within our departments. I am confident that we can accomplish great things together.