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Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks settled with the former administrator of Montana State Parks for $137,500 and agreed to purge certain disciplinary matters from his employee file, newly released documents say.

In September, the Independent Record learned of and requested information about FWP reaching a settlement with former Parks chief Chas Van Genderen. Van Genderen was terminated last year by former FWP Director Jeff Hagener for reasons that have not been disclosed.

The agency confirmed the existence of the settlement, but declined to release additional information citing employee privacy concerns. The settlement includes a confidentiality agreement.

After the agency’s refusal to release the settlement, an attorney for the Independent Record entered into discussions with FWP’s legal counsel. The Independent Record contended that such settlements by statute are public records and the agency was legally bound to disclose this one.

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