A federal age discrimination lawsuit filed by former Lowndes County Administrator Ralph Billingsley has settled.
United States District Judge Sharion Aycock dismissed the suit Sept. 9, noting that a settlement had been reached.
Billingsley sued the county, as well as District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders and District 3 Supervisor John Holliman as individuals, in 2021.
He claimed he was forced out of his job due to age discrimination, and that Sanders and Holliman defamed him by claiming oversights he made cost the county money.
The terms of the settlement are undisclosed, said Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Trip Hairston.
“The settlement was reached between the insurance company and (Billingsley),” Hairston said. “The insurance company holds the right to make that determination, to offer a settlement and then come to some agreement. I’m pleased that (Billingsley) agreed to the offer.”
Hairston said he is glad the suit is over.
“It’s good that it’s gone, that’s for sure,” he said. “I feel like a burden has been lifted, and I’m glad to see some agreement made.”
Billingsley’s attorney, Tupelo-based Jim Waide, declined to comment on the settlement terms, but was also glad that the suit was over.
“(Billingsley) is a splendid guy, and it’s a shame what they did to him,” Waide said.
Billingsley became county administrator in January 2008, submitted his notice of retirement on March 23, 2020, and retired in September 2020. He filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi in March 2021.
This is the second lawsuit by an ex-employee settled this year. In June, Cynthia Thompson, who was Billingsley’s assistant, filed a sexual harassment suit against Lowndes County and Sanders in May 2021. Her lawsuit was settled in May, also for an undisclosed amount.
Brian Jones is the local government reporter for Columbus and Lowndes County.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.