Ann Flemer leaves legacy of leadership

Ann Flemer
Noah Berger

Former MTC Deputy Executive Director Ann Flemer, who retired in 2014 after 32 years of service to the Commission and the people of the Bay Area, died Friday morning, surrounded by family at her East Bay home. 

Ms. Flemer began her MTC career as an intern in 1982 and then joined the staff as a planner in 1983 after completing a master’s degree in City Planning at U.C. Berkeley to supplement the bachelor's degree in Urban Studies she had earned at UCLA in 1980. Over the following years, she rose through a series of increasingly responsible positions to become MTC’s first Deputy Executive Director for Operations in 2001 and then Deputy Executive Director for Policy in 2009, making her the only person to hold each of these leadership roles. 

Ms. Flemer drew on the breadth of her experience to lead the joint development by MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments of the original Plan Bay Area adopted by both agencies in 2013. Plan Bay Area was the region's first long-range transportation plan to include a state-mandated Sustainable Communities Strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and for accommodating all needed housing growth within the nine Bay Area counties.

"MTC commissioners and staff alike are deeply saddened by Ann's passing," said MTC Executive Director Andrew Fremier. "She will long be remembered for her personal warmth, professional cool and perpetual grace." 

Among Ms. Flemer's early leadership roles was coordination of the Bay Area’s response to the landmark 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, an effort on which she worked with the region's transit agencies and dozens of disability rights advocates to ensure compliance with the new law. Ms. Flemer also worked with many of the same partners to midwife the Bay Area’s Welfare to Work program to improve low-income residents’ access to jobs and services. She then shepherded the lengthy development of both the universal transit-fare payment card now known as Clipper and the 511 traveler information service.  

Ms. Flemer was a longtime board member of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America and was the first woman to serve as ITS America’s chair. She also was the first recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bay Area chapter of WTS International. Upon Ms. Flemer's retirement from MTC, the California Senate issued a proclamation congratulating her on her decades of inspiring and productive work on behalf of Bay Area residents.

Ms. Flemer’s leadership spread to other fields as well. She successfully captained the 2010 effort to rally support and raise funds to preserve baseball as a varsity sport at U.C. Berkeley, where her son Matt now serves as an assistant coach overseeing the Golden Bears’ pitching staff. Ms. Flemer also is survived by her husband Paul and by her son Kevin. 

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