Carbondale utilities director resigns
CARBONDALE Carbondale’s utilities director, Ed Fortner, has resigned and will leave the position on Friday.A resignation letter submitted by Fortner gave no explanation for his decision to leave office.According to Carbondale Town Manager Tom Baker, Fortner had accepted another job somewhere, but he didn’t disclose where or with whom.”He has been looking elsewhere. It wasn’t a surprise,” Baker said about the resignation.Fortner stated in his resignation letter that it was “with great regret” that he resigned but added, “I have given my full effort for these two years and am very proud of the accomplishments we have achieved in the Utilities Department.”Fortner, who was in charge of the town’s water and wastewater systems, has been in the center of controversy for more than year. He was ticketed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife in January 2006 for illegal possession of wildlife and hunting without a valid license for shooting and killing a deer from the porch of his home. He then used city vehicles and employees to help dispose of the deer carcass. Fortner was fined $1,767 and received 30 points on his hunting license.Fortner was also at the center of a wrongful termination case involving Tom McClelland, who was a water and wastewater department supervisor from November 2005 to January 2006. McClelland claims he was wrongfully terminated because he was the one who alerted the DOW of Fortner’s actions.Another utilities worker, Rich Poulin, 63, filed an age discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the town of Carbondale in October of last year.”It’s been a trying time to be a manager in the department,” Baker said.Town Attorney Mark Hamilton confirmed that he and Baker will be in Denver Wednesday for a mediation hearing before a judicial arbiter group to discuss a settlement in Poulin’s case. In addition to age discrimination, there are issues with a pay raise he thinks he was entitled to. A separate workman’s compensation claim is also pending.McClelland’s wrongful termination case is scheduled for trial in District Court next April.Baker said he is planning to meet with the assistant utilities department director, Mark O’Meara, to discuss options and how to handle the transition period. O’Meara has been with the department for approximately six months.Fortner didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.John Stroud of the Valley Journal contributed to this story.