Webster CVB settles lawsuit with former director

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The Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission agreed to settle a lawsuit brought on by former executive director Lynn Dorsey.

The commission unanimously agreed to the end the lawsuit during a special called meeting Friday.

CVB attorney Steve Oxenhandler released a joint statement from the commission and Dorsey following the meeting saying the two “mutually settled all matters to this litigation and part ways amicably.”

Also in the statement, the commission thanked Dorsey for work with the bureau and Dorsey thanked the commission for allowing her to serve the community.

Terms of the settlement were not released, but in a Facebook post Friday, Dorsey, who was not at the special meeting, acknowledged she received an unspecified monetary settlement.

Dorsey filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the bureau in April and was seeking to be reinstated to the position she had held since 2004.

The lawsuit alleged the commission failed to comply with various public meeting statutes that ultimately led to her termination.

The suit also alleged wrongdoing in the appointment of a new commission member.

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 claimed 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 named 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 included:

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.

Madden said with the lawsuit settled, the search for an executive director is now underway.


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