OKLAHOMA CITY — An appeals court has upheld the 2014 firing of an Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality attorney accused of conspiring with a lawmaker to cut the agency's budget.

The Oklahoman reports that the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals unanimously affirmed last week the decisions of lower courts that Mista Burgess' dismissal was lawful.

Department administrators fired Burgess as supervising attorney in May 2014. Burgess was accused of conspiring with colleague Wendy Caperton and then-Rep. Don Armes to cut the department's budget.

Burgess alleges the department fired her for talking to a lawmaker about her agency seeking a fee increase with representations that the money be used to hire more employees for the Water Quality Division. She says the funds were used for other purposes after an administrative shakeup.