RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A state lawyer got a taxpayer-funded $80,000 settlement after challenging her dismissal by the Republican administration of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.
Karen West was general counsel at the N.C. Department of Commerce until June 4, when records show she was fired by new Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker.
A state employee since 2005, West's $113,000-a-year job had been covered under the State Personnel Act, which protects workers from being fired without cause. But earlier this year, the McCrory administration declared the job of West and hundreds of other state employees exempt from the act, meaning she could be fired at the will of the governor.
West then sued. In a settlement agreement dated Sept. 18, Decker agreed to pay West $80,000 in exchange for the ex-employee dropping her lawsuit.