bart_generic.jpg7:41 PM: BART general manager Dorothy Dugger announced her resignation today in a move that was expected after a majority of the transit agency’s board members voted to fire her at a closed session at their meeting on Feb. 10.

Board members immediately rescinded their decision after BART’s legal counsel said their action was illegal because the meeting agenda only listed a performance appraisal for Dugger, not a possible vote to fire her.

But the damage was done, and a four-member committee has been discussing a settlement with Dugger ever since, according to board members.

BART announced today that Dugger, 58, who has worked at BART for nearly 19 years and has served as its top executive since August 2007, will receive a total settlement of $958,000.

The agency said $600,000 of that sum represents the cost of a severance package for her if she had been fired. It said $350,000 is to “ensure a smooth transition and avoid any litigation between the parties.”

Dugger’s last day at BART will be April 22.

BART Board President Bob Franklin said board members would meet in closed session on Thursday to select an interim general manager. He said he hopes that the search for a permanent general manager will begin soon but it may take up to five months or more to hire someone.

BART Director James Fang, who was first elected in 1990 and is the board’s longest-serving member, said one person who has been suggested to be the interim general manager is former BART general counsel Sherwood Wakeman, who retired in July 2007.

Franklin, Fang, John McPartland, Robert Raburn and Tom Radulovich voted to fire Dugger at the Feb. 10 meeting.

The directors who voted to retain her were Tom Blalock, Joel Keller, Gail Murray and Lynette Sweet.

Franklin declined to say today why he voted to fire Dugger, saying only that he wants to thank her “for her tireless work and lifelong dedication to public service.”

Fang said, “Everyone recognizes the hard work she’s put in for the transit district over her 19-year career. I’m appreciative of her work and wish her well in her next career.”

Raburn simply said, “Dorothy has been very gracious in her resignation.”

Dugger was unavailable for comment, but she said in a statement issued by BART, “I am extremely proud of all that we have achieved and BART’s strong record of accomplishment.”

Dugger said, “It has been a challenging, exciting and professionally rewarding experience to lead a great organization that provides a vitally important service to the people of the Bay Area every day.”

Dugger worked as BART’s executive manager for external affairs for two years after joining the transit agency in September 1992 and then served as deputy general manager, the agency’s second-ranking job, for 13 years before being appointed general manager on Aug. 23, 2007.

She is BART’s eighth general manager and its first female general manager.

Dugger grew up on a chicken farm in Alabama. After college she worked in the environmental protection field in Washington, D.C., and as governmental affairs director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey before coming to BART.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

1:46 PM: BART general manager Dorothy Dugger submitted a letter of resignation this morning and will step down on April 22, BART officials said.

Under an agreement reached by Dugger and BART’s board of directors, the transit agency will pay her $958,000.

That amount includes the $600,000 cost of Dugger’s severance package if she had been terminated, plus $350,000 to “ensure a smooth transition and avoid any litigation between the parties,” BART officials said.

Dugger has served as the agency’s general manager since August 2007 and has been with BART for 19 years. She was the first woman to hold the top post.

The board will hold a special closed session on Thursday to discuss the search for Dugger’s replacement and consider naming an interim general manager.

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