Transportation planning agency terminates executive director

By Ken Amundson — 

FORT COLLINS — The North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization has removed its executive director and put a Larimer County employee with MPO experience in an interim leadership role.

The governing council, composed of representatives of the cities and counties of Northern Colorado, voted 8-3 Nov. 27 to place Terri Blackmore on paid administrative leave pending an investigation of reports presented to the board. After hearing the results of that investigation at the December meeting, the council voted unanimously Jan. 4 to terminate Blackmore and negotiate an exit agreement.

Minutes of council meetings are not specific as to allegations against Blackmore. Dave Clark, a Loveland city council member and voting member of the MPO council, confirmed that Blackmore had been terminated but was uncertain about the status of the exit agreement.

He said Suzette Mallette, a Larimer County employee with previous experience as an interim director of the MPO, had been tapped to again lead the organization until a replacement is found.

Blackmore is still listed on the organization’s website as executive director, however her LinkedIn profile shows her position with the MPO as a previous position. She lists her current position as a executive director of Big Picture Planning, effective January 2018.

Blackmore did not respond to a request for a comment about her departure.

She served for five years as executive director of the MPO. She served prior to January 2013 as executive director of the Washtenaw (Michigan) Area Transportation Study, a position that began in March 2001 and ended in January 2013 just prior to her arrival in Northern Colorado. She is a graduate of Michigan State University.

Tom Donnelly, current chairman of the MPO council and a Larimer County commissioner, did not return a call. Neither did Sean Conway, Weld County commissioner who served on the committee that investigated the charges against Blackmore.

Clark said he was not permitted to discuss the circumstances of her dismissal because the discussion occurred in executive session. “The MPO attorney and her attorney are working on the language (of the exit agreement),” he said.

Clark, who voted in November against the paid administrative leave, said he did not know enough about the circumstances then to vote in favor. After hearing the investigative report, he voted for termination in January. He said the January vote was unanimous.

The termination is having no impact on the MPO’s work, Clark said. “Suzette and the staff are moving forward as normal,” he said.

Minutes of the December meeting of the council included a motion instructing the group’s legal counsel to notify the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency about a claim of loss. The CIRSA is an organization that insures governmental agencies against loss and claims. The minutes were not clear if the notification resulted from the termination of Blackmore.

The December meeting also directed the council’s lawyer to negotiate a three-month agreement with Larimer County for part-time services of Mallette.

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