The announcement last week that the city’s able Planning and Development director of many years, Tony Sousa, is leaving city government in what is arguably one of the most important positions in city hall is not surprising.
What is surprising is that he stayed as long as he did.
In the end, he couldn’t take it anymore, a colleague told the Leader Herald.
He had had enough of the mayor.
He had had enough of the mayor’s sidekicks in government. Quite frankly, he had had enough of Everett city hall.
What made Sousa so unique in his role was his competency.
He is a development and planning official who knows what to do and how to do things the right way.
In addition, Sousa had a winning personality inside a city hall where the mayor’s long reach tends to soil everything good, and sometimes in ways that either offended or disgusted Sousa.
Sousa, however, was not one to publicly say anything about the dark side of his position or of having to take guff from the mayor or having to do what he was directed when he intuitively knew the order was wrong or ill-advised.
In nearly a decade of knowing Sousa, most of us who had contact with him came to understand that he was a decent man, a city hall guy who never said a bad word about anyone, let alone his boss the mayor.
City hall officials with Sousa’s stature don’t just leave their jobs.
They are driven from their jobs by having to do things they do not want to be a part of.
They tend to love their positions and to play a part in making Everett a better place.
Sousa did that dance pretty well for many, many years.
The city cannot afford to lose qualified department heads like Sousa.
The Department of Planning and Development has some big shoes to fill with Sousa’s departure.