Holden, Mary 2003.tif

Arnold city officials have agreed to pay $20,000 to former Community Development director Mary Holden to settle a discrimination complaint she filed against the city last year, after she left Arnold to take a job in Florida.

Holden filed the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Missouri Commission of Human Rights on Oct. 31, 2018, claiming gender discrimination and retaliation.

She had worked for the city for 15 years before resigning in June 2018 to become senior planner for the city of Marco Island, Fla.

The city’s insurance provider, Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (MIRMA), will pay half of the settlement, and the city will pay the other half in a $10,000 deductible, City Administrator Bryan Richison said.

Holden will receive two-thirds, just more than $13,000, from the settlement. The other third, $6,666, will go toward attorney fees and court costs she incurred in connection with the complaint, according to the settlement agreement.

Arnold City Council members voted unanimously in a July 18 closed meeting to settle the complaint, after its insurance provider, MIRMA, recommended the settlement.

Richison said he could not talk about the case.

A phone message left for Holden was not returned by Leader deadline.

As part of the agreement, Holden agreed she would not disclose the facts of the settlement or any details regarding compensation she received.

She also agreed not to sue the city again over her employment or termination, the settlement said.

Holden, who previously had been the administrator for Village of Innsbrook in Warren County, came to Arnold in February 2003 and was paid a $58,677 annual salary as the city’s Community Development director. Holden had also worked as a planner for O’Fallon, and before that for a chain of resorts in Vail, Colo. She has a master’s degree in urban studies from St. Louis University.

When she left Arnold to take the job in Florida, she was being paid $79,955 a year.

In her role as Community Development director for Arnold, Holden worked with the Arnold Planning Commission and supervised building inspectors, code enforcement personnel and the Health Department, which in Arnold, includes Animal Control and mosquito control services.

The city filled the Community Development director vacancy in October 2018 when it hired David Bookless, who received a starting salary of $96,000.

Bookless had been the Community Development director in Collinsville, Ill., for two years before coming to Arnold. He also worked six years as Planning and Economic Development director for Bridgeton and worked as a planner for Maryland Heights, Webster Groves and Chesterfield, as well as a transportation planner for the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and urban and regional planning with economics in 1998 from Florida Atlantic University. He also has an American Institute of Certified Planners License.

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