John Plotkin, the former CEO of SAIF Corp., filed a lawsuit today (PDF) in Marion County Court, alleging that SAIF fired him in violation of the state's public meetings law. 

In his complaint, Plotkin argues that the state-owned worker's compensation insurer fired him after just three month on the job and did so in private. Public bodies—such as SAIF's board, which is appointed by the governor—are required by law to make their decisions in public.

Here's an explanation of the intent of the public meetings law from the attorney general's Public Records and Meetings Manual:

"The Oregon form of government requires an informed public aware of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies and the information upon which decisions were made. It is the intent of ORS 192.610 to 192.690 that decisions of governing bodies be arrived at openly."

In his complaint, Plotkin argues that the SAIF board violated the that law by deliberating on his fate and deciding in private. He says that board chairwoman Catherine Travis informed him in a telephone call on May 2 that the board had decided to terminate him if he did not resign. Plotkin declined to quit and so the board fired him at a May 9 meeting.

"The May 9 meeting was a sham as the board had already made the decision to terminate Plotkin as early as May 2, 2014, before Plotkin was ever notified of concerns regarding his conduct," says the lawsuit, filed by Plotkin's attorney, Dana Sullivan.

As WW reported earlier, Plotkin filed a tort claim notice on July 2, notifying the state he intends to sue for wrongful termination. Today's lawsuit was filed to meet the requirement that alleged violations of the public records law be litigated within 60 days of when they occurred but it makes clear that Plotkin will also continue to pursue the larger question of whether his firing was appropriate.

In today's filing, he seeks reinstatement to his position and attorney's fees.

Kristina Edmunson, a spokewoman for the Oregon Department of Justice, which represents SAIF, says DOJ does not comment on pending litigation.