Lawyers for fired Idaho Transportation Director Pam Lowe are pushing for a decision in her favor on most of her key claims without even holding further hearings - based on a long string of cases they’ve identified that back Lowe’s argument that she wasn’t an “at-will” employee, as the state contends in defending her firing. Among documents filed in the federal court case Monday was the official “Statement of Purpose” for the 1974 law that created the transportation director’s post. It states that the director “shall serve at the pleasure of the board and may be removed by the board only for stated cause.”
The law itself says, “The director shall serve at the pleasure of the board and may be removed by the board for inefficiency, neglect of duty, malfeasance or nonfeasance in office.” The state contends that those reasons are just examples, and the important part is “at the pleasure.” But in a motion for partial judgment filed Monday, Lowe’s attorneys say the history shows otherwise. “This statement of purpose … could not be a clearer indication of the legislature’s intent to limit the board’s discretion in removing the director only for good cause,” the lawyers argued in court documents. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com; and you can read Lowe’s motion here and the supporting memorandum here.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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