TAUNTON – Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transportation Authority administrator Mark A. Sousa has resigned amid “concerns” that have not been made public.
Sousa’s resignation came after a six-hour meeting of the transit company’s advisory board on Tuesday.
Most of the meeting went behind closed doors and was prompted by what Council Clerk Kevin Dumas described as “concerns” about Sousa. Dumas, who is also the managing director of Mansfield and a former mayor of Attleboro, has taken the case to the board.
Sousa’s resignation is effective January 14.
He was hired by GATRA in early 2020 to replace Francis Gay, who has retired.
Sousa had been on two weeks’ paid administrative leave before the Taunton Town Hall hearing that ended with his resignation. The leave was the result of a board vote, according to Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux, who is the chairman of the board.
Gay was due to assume Sousa’s duties as interim administrator on Wednesday.
Dumas refused to explain the reasons for Sousa’s departure.
In an email Tuesday evening, he only said that Sousa, who has worked with GATRA for less than two years, resigned on January 14 and that no votes were taken in the executive session.
“There is nothing more to report,” said Dumas, who did not respond to follow-up questions.
Under state law, executive or closed sessions are held “to discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health, rather than the professional competence, of an individual. individual, or to discuss discipline or termination, or complaints or charges against, any public officer, employee, staff member or individual.
At least 17 GATRA employees attended part of the meeting which was open to the public to show their support for Sousa.
The session started at noon and did not end until shortly before 6 p.m., according to Dumas.
A few employees approached the board.
They praised Sousa’s professional performance, saying he was responsible for improving worker morale and the efficiency of the operation.
Deputy administrator Amanda Barlow said Sousa was a good leader.
“Mark’s leadership style has worked for me,” she said.
Earlier this month, Sousa and local politicians, including State Representative Jim Hawkins, D-Attleboro, Carol Doherty, D-Taunton and State Senator Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, celebrated the purchase of six electric buses for GATRA.
During part of the closed session, while Sousa was outside the meeting room, he was joking and talking with employees who came to support him.
Employees said they didn’t know what the concerns were.
Sousa’s attorney, Frank Biedak from Taunton, declined to comment.
He did not respond to at least two follow-up emails sent to his office requesting comment and an interview with Sousa.
In an email on Wednesday, Heroux detailed what Sousa did not do.
“Mark didn’t break the law. He did not go beyond his authority as administrator of GATRA. He did not act inappropriately with any staff member, ”Heroux said. “In fact, there were almost 20 GATRA employees who were there to support Mark and the forward-thinking advancements and changes he made as a director over the past two years.
Despite the support, Sousa decided to resign.
This is not the first time that Sousa has held this position.
In 2019, he was the general manager of Green Mountain Transit in Vermont and, according to a VTDigger article, he was fired for undisclosed reasons.
The title of this story, posted on July 26, 2019, was “Green Mountain Transit Director Kicked Out, No Reason Disclosed.”
“Green Mountain Transit’s board has ousted suspended chief executive Mark Sousa, but the reason for his departure is unclear as GMT officials have refused to release details,” the article said.
According to other published reports, Sousa ran the transportation department for the city of Nashua, New Hampshire, and previously worked in law enforcement in New Hampshire and Florida.
Georges W. Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.