Interim HART CEO under investigation following complaint of 'bullying' behavior

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority Board of Directors voted unanimously to begin the process of investigating interim CEO Carolyn House Stewart after receiving an anonymous complaint from an employee alleging violations of board policy.

“The allegations are that there has been an abusive, hostile, humiliating, bullying and related behavior by the interim CEO,” HART attorney David Smith said during Monday’s meeting.

Stewart has only been on the job since February, taking over after the previous CEO was terminated following a whistleblower investigation that found he violated multiple board polices in addition to questionable spending with his company purchase card. 

Stewart will remain as interim CEO while the board works with an outside law firm to begin the investigation. HART staff says the investigation will cost around $250 an hour. The previous investigation into the former CEO cost taxpayers $100,000. 

At Monday’s meeting, board chair Mariella Smith stressed to the employees of HART that they are taking this investigation seriously. 
“It is important that we handle this complaint in a way that makes it clear to all HART employees how we would handle any complaint made by anyone of them, and also how we would handle any complaint against anyone of them. We will try to put ourselves in the shoes of someone who needs to make a complaint and someone who becomes the subject of a complaint.”