School group pays $20K to end suit in firing of GOP activist

August 17, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Association of School Boards will pay $20,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a lawyer and GOP activist who was fired after publicly praising Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Association director Lisa Bartusek said Friday the deal includes $5,000 in wages for Anna Bergman and $15,000 from its insurer for her attorneys’ fees and damages. In exchange, Bergman dropped a lawsuit in which she claimed the termination violated her free speech rights.

Bergman was the association’s director of policy and legal services from October 2017 until her February firing. The Waukee resident has also been active in the Republican Party, and is currently running for a seat in the Iowa House.

In January, Bergman wrote an opinion piece for the Des Moines Register that widely praised Reynolds’ record as governor, including on education funding. The column noted her association position.

Bartusek fired Bergman, saying the column wasn’t authorized by the association and conflicted with its nonpartisan objectives.

Bergman claimed she wrote the column as a private citizen.

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