The state will pay former state transportation director Pam Lowe $750,000 to settle a wrongful termination suit.
Pam Lowe sued the state over her termination as director of the Idaho Transportation Department, alleging gender discrimination and political pressure to go easy on contractors who had made campaign contributions to Gov. Butch Otter.
She was making $143,000 annually when the ITD board fired her in July 2009. A few months later, the board hired a new director, Brian Ness, at a starting salary of $165,000.
The Idaho Transportation Board still believes it was appropriate and within its legal rights to fire Ms. Lowe, but concluded a settlement is the best course at this time, said ITD spokesman Jeff Stratten in a statement released Wednesday. The board was prepared to take its case to trial, but the potential risks, time, expense, and possible appeals meant the costs of litigation would continue to escalate.
The state has already paid $590,833 to date in legal fees to a private law firm, Holland & Hart, to defend the case, which Lowe filed in November 2009.