Clemson was reached by telephone Thursday afternoon, and stressed that he had not yet formally resigned, and did not want to elaborate on his job status until after talking with tollway board members. But Clemson did say that he expected to be fired during a tollway board meeting on Wednesday.
"I don't have any indication that a majority of the board's opinion has changed," he said.
Clemson was nearly fired during the summer, after a majority of the nine-member tollway board said they didn't like the manner in which he was trying to bring in new firms to handle the agency's legal, engineering and other professional services. But under then-chairman Victor Vandergriff of Arlington, the tollway board opted to instead begin a 90-day review of his job performance.
The source with knowledge of Clemson's termination asked not to be identified by name, but said Clemson was preparing to leave Friday. Clemson is under contract through May.
Clemson came to the Plano-based tollway authority in June 2009, after a lengthy stint as Dallas County administrator. He stepped into a position known as a hot seat -- with five executive directors in five years. Not long after he arrived, Clemson sought to change the tollway authority's culture of relying on engineering firm HNTB, legal firm Locke Lord and a handful of other companies for tens of millions of dollars per year in tollway work.
But beginning last year, he came under fire for seeking change too swiftly, as some board members sought to ensure that the quality of work of several ongoing big-dollar projects wasn't hurt during the transition. That spat let to the ouster of Vandergriff as chairman. He was replaced by former Fort Worth mayor Kenneth Barr, who took the helm of tollway board chairman last month.
"I think a lot of things he could have done differently, and it probably would have prevented some of the angst out there, but I certainly appreciate the job he has done," Vandergriff said of Clemson. Vandergriff, who was reached by phone Thursday afternoon, added that he had not been told of Clemson's departure.