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Prattville Library Board hires new attorney for pending litigation

The board authorized a contract with attorney Bryan Taylor, who just lost a primary race to be the next chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

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Laura Clark, attorney for the Autauga-Prattville Public Library board of trustees, won’t be representing the board if it ends up in a lawsuit from fired director Andrew Foster.

Upon opening the special called meeting Tuesday, Chair Ray Boles called for a motion to hire a new attorney despite the meeting announcement not making any mention of such action.

Vice Chair Rachel Daniels said that Clark had “conflicted out” of representing the board in currently pending litigation, and moved to authorize Boles to sign a representative contract with attorney Bryan Taylor “for the limited scope of this conflict.”

The board approved the move unanimously without discussion, which has been its modus operandi since forming at the end of last year.

Taylor has served previously as counsel for the Alabama Republican Party and Gov. Kay Ivey and most recently lost the Republican primary race for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to Sarah Stewart.

Clark did not attend the meeting, and Taylor did not appear either—at least in person.

The board voted to enter executive session to discuss the pending litigation, as well as the good name and character of a potential board nominee recommendation to the city council.

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Foster released a letter last week calling on the board to reinstate him as director by March 29 or he would be forced to pursue legal remedies. The board obviously missed that deadline already, and it failed to take any action regarding the litigation when coming out of executive session.

Not only did the board violate the Open Meetings Act four different ways, according to Foster’s letter, the board or Boles has denied his access to the library as a patron and has made “false and stigmatizing” statements about him.

Foster also demanded retractions and apologies from Clark and Boles for statements that Foster said defamed him. Clark has publicly refused Foster’s demands, while Boles has not said anything either way about the letter.

Boles declined to comment to media following the board meeting Tuesday, and secretary Doug Darr refused to elaborate on what Clark’s conflict of interest is because of the matter being under litigation. But Clark’s potential defamation suit in her role as the board’s attorney appears to put her in a conflict of interest with representing the board against Foster.

When the board came back from executive session, it voted to recommend Donnie Bethel to the city council to fill the remaining vacancy on the board.

At a Prattville City Council meeting following the library board meeting Tuesday, resident Amber Frey said witnessing the library board’s actions is “like watching a slow-motion train wreck right in front of us.”

Frey and others spoke to the council, asking them to do what they could to change the direction of the library and the board.

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Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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