BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The CEO of the Capital Area Transit System in Baton Rouge announced his resignation effective May 6.
Bob Mirabito became CATS CEO in June 2013. He sent his letter of resignation to the CATS Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.
Mirabito said in his resignation letter that the impact on his family as a hired public figure was one important factor to leave.
His family has endured personal attacks said and written about him. However, Mirabito said the tipping point was when a stranger approached his son, who wore a shirt with his name across the back, and asked "if his dad was the CATS CEO." Mirabito said his family "became more conscious of our surroundings" from that point on.
Three months into the job, Mirabito discovered $120,000 in fare box money missing and that began a major upheaval. Four board members and the company CFO resigned.
Under his guidance, CATS went from corruption to a clean ship. He added new routes, newer buses, with more on the way and bus shelters, with more on the way. CATS expanded its system in spring 2014 from 20 to 30 routes as well as doubled its workforce.
During Mirabito's time with the bus system, CATS also launched an online method of purchasing tickets, gave its drivers a pay raise, and changed several routes, which was approved by the East Baton Rouge Metro Council.
The board gave him a 19-percent raise, but with more money, has come more scrutiny. The union amped up grievances and former EBR Metro Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle called him a 'dicatator.'
In February 2015, Mirabito said he would not be stepping down any time soon after Marcelle called for his resignation.
Mirabito noted that CATS is positioned for continued success moving forward.
"While my resignation may surprise some, the reason for leaving is personal. I have never truly been comfortable in the public arena and everything that goes with it," Mirabito said in a statement Tuesday. "I came to CATS in 2013 because I believed I could make a difference; I feel I have and things are better than they were when I arrived. It has become evident, however, that the external focus has shifted from the agency as a whole to me individually.
"In the best interests of myself and my family, as well as the Agency, I believe it is best for me to return to the private sector and let the focus return to making CATS what it can and should be. I am grateful for the time I've had and the work that's been done, and I will continue to support CATS as it moves towards more improvements. While there is more work to be done, there is a leadership team in place that can continue moving the Agency forward. I want to thank the Board for the opportunity and the employees for their hard work."
"CATS appreciates the work Bob has done and the changes he has introduced at the Agency," said CATS Board of Commissioners' President Jim Brandt. "While I am saddened by his decision, I know we are in a better position to provide the transit service Baton Rouge deserves, and that is a result of Bob and the team he has assembled at CATS. We wish Bob well in his future endeavors."
Read the resignation letter from Mirabito to Brant below: