Fairfield settling Pauley lawsuit

WINNSBORO—Fairfield County plans to settle a lawsuit its former recreation director filed earlier this year.

Lori Schaeffer, the county’s former recreation director, filed suit against the county and Councilman Douglas Pauley in February 2018, saying in court documents that Pauley improperly inserted himself into recreation operations.

Schaeffer was later terminated.

Fairfield County initially sought to dismiss the suit. At Monday night’s meeting, however, the county voted to settle.

In a 4-1 vote, the council approved a motion authorizing “the payment of an amount equal to, but not to exceed, the amount currently authorized by its insurer for final resolution of the Schaeffer lawsuit against the County and Councilman Pauley,” the motion states.

Councilman Mike Trapp cast the lone dissenting vote while Pauley recused himself. Council Chairman Billy Smith was absent.

The council didn’t state a dollar figure in its motion, and only the motion itself was available after the meeting.

In Fairfield County court documents, Schaeffer said Pauley frequently interjected himself into recreation department affairs, even after being advised by County Administrator Jason Taylor to not do so.

“Taylor said he had specifically informed Defendant Pauley that he should not be getting involved in the day-to-day operations and that he does not understand why Defendant Pauley does so despite his instruction,” the suit states.

Schaeffer’s suit goes on to say that she and the entire recreation department were placed on a Performance Improvement Plan by the county, or PIP, in June 2017. She was dismissed in October 2017.

In its response to the suit, attorneys for the county and Pauley asked for the case to be dismissed.

The county’s response denies Schaeffer’s characterization of her conversation with Taylor. It also states “the disciplinary notices contained in Plaintiff’s personnel file speak for themselves.” The response also notes that South Carolina is a right to work state.

In a separate motion for judgment that Pauley filed, the councilman said he was entitled to a favorable judgment because his inquiries into the recreation department were part of his legislative duties.

“As a member of Fairfield County Council, Defendant Pauley therefore, as a matter of law, was not a third party capable of interfering with any alleged contract Plaintiff claims to have had with Fairfield County,” the motion states.


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