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Prattville Library paid $20K to settle with fired director

In addition to his payment, the board also agreed to provide a letter of reference for Foster as he seeks new employment.

Andrew Foster, former director of the Autauga-Prattville Public Library, is demanding reinstatement in a set of certified letters released Friday.
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Newly obtained records show the Prattville Library paid out $20,000 to settle a lawsuit with fired director Andrew Foster.

APR obtained the settlement Friday via a public records request submitted on May 16. The payment had not been previously reported due to a confidentiality clause in the agreement.

Although the settlement expressly prohibits the board from disclosing the settlement agreement, public records law dictates that government bodies produce such documents despite confidentiality clauses.

It is unclear whether the money came directly out of the library’s budget, or if an insurance policy covered the costs of the litigation.

Foster sued the Autauga-Prattville Public Library board of trustees soon after the board fired him on March 17 during a meeting that he alleged violated the Open Meetings Act on several grounds.

A joint statement released by Foster and the board as part of the settlement agreement revealed both sides denied wrongdoing. Settlement agreements typically include such language absolving all parties from admitting guilt.

Foster had also threatened litigation against board chair Ray Boles and board attorney Laura Clark for defamation in relation to comments made during or after his termination. This settlement blocks Foster from bringing forward any such litigation.

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“In exchange for the consideration set forth in Paragraph 3, Foster, his representatives, successors and assigns (the “Releasors”), do hereby forever release and discharge the Board, its representatives, successors and assigns (the “Releasees”) from any and all claims … which Foster has ever had or now may have against the Board,” the settlement states.

In addition to his payment, the board also agreed to provide a letter of reference for Foster as he seeks new employment.

The settlement also makes clear that Foster will have access to the library, after Boles publicly banned Foster from the premises immediately following his termination.

The agreement prohibits Foster from discussing details with third parties and advocacy groups to bring litigation against the board. Days before the settlement was reached, two advocacy groups filed a federal lawsuit against the board for its controversial policies. The clause emphasizes that it does not preclude Foster from testifying under subpoena.

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

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