Dorothy Dugger did not go quietly when the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) board tried to fire her in February 2011. And two years after finally leaving her post, she is not forgotten.
Dugger was the highest paid BART earner in 2012, according to reporters for the Bay Area News Group, receiving $330,000 despite not working a day. She pulled down more money than current BART General Manager Grace Crunican, who made $316,000.
After the board botched her firing—they voted 5-4 without public notice behind closed to doors to can her, in violation of the Brown Act—she threatened to sue and negotiated a lucrative package before resigning. Dugger received $920,000 in severance pay plus $14,000 in legal expenses. It was estimated at the time that her severance was boosted about $350,000 because of the board miscue.
Dugger was also allowed to remain on the payroll for 19 months, drawing benefits and accruing an extra two months vacation time.
In the end, she earned more than 3,100 hours of unused vacation time, all of which was paid at the higher rate she earned at the end of her 20-year career. Dugger was promoted to general manager in 2007, receiving a $100,000 pay bump.
Her tenure was marked by controversies over her interaction with the board, the loss of $70 million in federal funds for the Oakland Airport Connector and the aftermath of the Oscar Grant killing.
The unarmed Grant was shot in the back in the early hours of January 1, 2009, by a BART police officer, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served seven months in jail. The incident triggered months of protests and criticism of BART officials. The story was made into a movie, Fruitvale Station, which is scheduled for release in July.
Now that Dugger is finally off the books, she receives an annual pension of $181,000.