2 women to replace TARC director in interim as investigation into Ferdinand Risco’s behavior continues

2 women to replace TARC director in interim as investigation into Ferdinand Risco’s behavior continues

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – What's next for TARC?

Thursday night, a special board meeting was held to discuss the controversy surrounding former executive director Ferdinand Risco.

Risco resigned hours after WAVE 3 News first brought sexual misconduct allegations against him to light on Wednesday.

The board met behind closed doors for an executive session Thursday and emerged hours later with two major announcements: TARC is continuing the investigation into the allegations made against Risco as two interim co-executive directors step into his role.

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“It’s good, it’s a good start. Let’s start there,” Theo Hamilton, president of the TARC drivers’ union, said.

Hamilton was in the crowd at Thursday’s meeting eagerly waiting for the board to decide what is coming next for the Louisville Metro transit provider. He says it’s been a rough week for his drivers.

“Some are a little shaken still. Some are happy, but just shaken,” Hamilton said.

Risco has been accused of inappropriate touching, as well as sending sexual texts and pictures to six current and former TARC employees and a contractor. They claimed opportunities for advancement were tied to sexual submission.

The board decided the Dinsmore and Shohl law firm will continue to investigate the claims, despite Risco's resignation.

Ferdinand Risco, the former executive director of TARC.
Ferdinand Risco, the former executive director of TARC. (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)

In the meantime, Mayor Greg Fischer appointed Margaret Handmaker and Laura Douglas to serve as interim co-executive directors of TARC, managing the day-to-day operations and launching the national search for the next executive director.

Both women have long histories working in the public and private sectors.

Fischer released this statement about his decision:

"Today I have appointed Margaret Handmaker and Laura Douglas to serve as Interim Co-Executive Directors of TARC. They will work to manage the day-to-day affairs of TARC and launch a national search for the Executive Director position.

Margaret joins the TARC team after serving in leadership roles with Louisville Metro Government and with extensive experience in management consulting, first at Booz Allen Hamilton and then at Mercer, Inc. Margaret’s public sector experience includes leading the city’s economic development and innovation teams, and serving as Secretary of Revenue for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Governor’s Executive Cabinet. She currently sits on the LMG Board of Health, which champions equitable physical, behavioral and environmental health.

Laura brings decades of communications experience with her, being named as LG&E’s first Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Community Affairs and continuing to grow the company’s role in the community for 14 years. Previously, Laura worked for the Louisville Water Company and served as legal counsel for the Metropolitan Sewer District. She has a longstanding commitment to the community as a member of many professional organizations and civic boards.

Together, their long history in the public and private sectors make them the right choice to ensure a smooth transition in leadership for both employees and riders. I’m grateful for their dedication to our city and look forward to working with them for the future of TARC."

Hamilton says he will be paying close attention to the search for Risco’s full-time replacement.

“I will be having more conversations with the mayor’s office and Metro Council and everybody that's involved to make sure we're doing a full background check on anybody,” Hamilton said.

There will be another update at the next TARC Board meeting on Feb. 24.

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