DeKalb pays former fire chief $95K severance

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday obtained an agreement between the chief and the county that shows Foster agreed to resign in lieu of receiving 33 weeks of pay.

Foster previously claimed he was forced out by CEO Burrell Ellis on Feb. 1, and he had threatened to sue.

Under the agreement, Foster cannot seek legal action and cannot work for DeKalb. In exchange, he gets the severance, his pension and COBRA health insurance premiums paid for a year. The county will pay $4,300 toward COBRA and reimburse Foster another $3,600 for premiums he has already paid.

Foster, who worked for the county for six years, also must cooperate and make himself available to DeKalb Fire. The CEO will also provide him a reference letter, according to the agreement.

Foster’s attorney, A. Lee Parks, declined to comment, saying the agreement prohibits him from talking to the press.

In February, Ellis told the AJC there were a number of issues involving the fire chief, including the handling of the Dunwoody fire that killed 74-year-old Ann Bartlett.

A letter from the county attorney said the CEO referenced several concerns with the chief, including conflicts with personnel and “his judgment in handling certain sensitive situations,” including the Dunwoody fire.

Bartlett’s family has since filed a suit in DeKalb Superior Court.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.