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Former official on paid leave for months before resignation

Chairman: She had conflict with boss, leading her to resign

DIXON – A former official from the Lee-Ogle Transportation System was on paid administrative leave for about 4 months before she resigned in mid-March, a top Lee County official said Monday morning.

Lee County Board Chairman Rick Ketchum, D-Amboy, confirmed that Kathy Lalley, then the assistant director for LOTS, was put on leave just before Thanksgiving, because she was believed to have committed insubordination.

“It was only supposed to be for 30 days,” Ketchum said. “The state’s attorney got involved, and everything got bogged down.”

Lalley had a conflict with the program’s executive director, Jaime Blatti, Ketchum said.

“Their working relationship was not good. That’s the reason she was placed on administrative leave,” he said. “They had different views on how the job should be done. That’s what led to her resignation. Anything else is just speculation.”

In a letter to Sauk Valley Media last week, State’s Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller said investigative reports will be reviewed by another prosecuting agency and a decision about charges will be made.

In her March 14 resignation letter, Lalley said that after “much thought,” she had decided to resign. She said she would accept two of her last days in the form of personal time, as long as the county didn’t contest her application for unemployment benefits.

The county didn’t.

Ketchum said Lalley resigned on her own terms.

She confirmed in an interview last week that she was getting unemployment benefits, although it remains unclear why they would be granted to an employee who resigned. With a few limited exceptions, those benefits are given to people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. It is not, according to the state, for those who are “idle by choice.”

On Thursday, Sauk Valley Media submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to Lee County for documents related to Lalley’s unemployment claim, which would include the reason for her separation from the county.

Lalley was assistant director for nearly 2 years, making $44,000 a year. She previously worked in the county treasurer’s office.

If she was on paid leave for about 4 months, as Ketchum indicated, Lalley would have made $14,000 while away from work.

Blatti couldn’t be reached for comment. Lalley said she was busy and couldn’t talk.

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