Former Webster Parish Convention and Visitors’ Bureau executive director Lynn Dorsey has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the bureau and is seeking to be reinstated to the position she had held since 2004.
The lawsuit, which was filed in district court earlier this month, alleges the commission failed to comply with various public meeting statutes that ultimately led to her termination. The suit also alleges wrongdoing in the appointment of a new commission member.
“We think we have an excellent case, the open meetings law is a law that has to be followed very closely and there is very little room for error,” Lydia Rhodes, attorney for Dorsey said. “The court has the opportunity to void any action taken during the course of a meeting that violated the law. We believe (Feb. 13 meeting) violated the law.”
Dorsey was placed on administrative leave Jan. 2 after she mistakenly live-streamed a nude video of herself to the bureau’s Instagram account in December 2016. During a four-hour closed-door hearing Feb. 13, the commission voted 3-2 to terminate Dorsey citing a violation of her employment contract.
A portion of the 32-page suit claims the commission violated public meeting laws by not giving adequate notice that a previously-scheduled Jan. 17 meeting had been moved to a later date as well as not including an executive session on the Jan. 27 posted agenda and the legitimacy of the February hearing; therefore the court should rule that Dorsey should be reinstated retroactively to the position.
The suit names not only the governing body but also Jerry Madden acting in his capacity as board chairman for allegations of conspiring to sway commission members to vote in favor of Dorsey’s termination.
Additional claims in the suit include:
An illegal lack of record of Joan Roan’s resignation from the commission both in meeting minutes and in letter form
An illegality in the nomination and appointment of Karen Calvert to fill Roan’s vacated position on the board
Questionable actions regarding abstention and recusal of board members from voting on entering into executive session as well as on Dorsey’s termination