Via an email Friday, Frank Lockwood was informed he had been terminated as executive director of the Durango Area Tourism Office, and in the same email, he was informed the board of directors would enter mediation with him.
Lockwood said mediation would revolve around a severance package and whether he was appropriately fired for cause, which Lockwood disputes.
Lockwood said his contract with DATO requires mediation of any dispute between him and the board of directors, and if mediation fails, the dispute would go to binding arbitration.
Three DATO board of directors declined to comment Monday.
Bruce Moss, president of Gateway Reservations, said he could not comment about Lockwood’s status, and Antonia Clark, owner of Toh-Atin Gallery, said in an email she knew nothing about matters involving Lockwood. Keith Guyett, chief marketing officer with Mountain Capital Partners, directed all comments to the board Chairwoman Carrie Whitley, who was traveling and could not be reached Monday.
Money deposited into Lockwood’s account from his last paycheck was reversed, and Lockwood said he was informed that occurred because he had been fired as of Jan. 3.
Lockwood, who was suspended with pay Dec. 18, said he had no contact with the board of directors until Jan. 14 when he was given the option of resigning or being fired for cause.
Lockwood said his employment contract with DATO requires he be fired for cause. The contract overrides Colorado employment law, which doesn’t require a reason to terminate an employee.
On Jan. 14, Lockwood said several reasons were given by the board for firing him for cause. He said all were groundless, and none of the reasons given Jan. 14 were cited as the reason for his termination in the email he received Friday.
Reasons the board gave Lockwood for terminating his contract on Jan. 14 included:
His presentation to the Durango City Council in November objecting to diverting $475,000 from the lodgers tax to the general fund. Lockwood said the board told him it issued a directive to “tread lightly” on the issue, but he said no directive was issued.His effort to direct news media coverage of the November meeting. Lockwood said he did not lead news media to cover the meeting. City Council meetings are routinely covered by The Durango Herald.His contacting of city officials after his suspension in violation of a suspension agreement. Lockwood said he has no suspension agreement with the DATO board.His failure get a properly adopted budget approved. Lockwood said minutes show a proper budget has been approved.His failure to promptly inform the board about the city’s intention to issue a request for proposal to bid out tourism marketing. Lockwood said he issued a memorandum to board members about the city’s intent to issue the RFP after he had adequate information about the email@example.com