Railroad agency chief abruptly resigns over employment record scrutiny

Railroad agency chief abruptly resigns over employment record scrutiny
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The acting head of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has resigned after it was reported that he was simultaneously working for a media consulting firm, Politico reported Saturday.

Heath Hall resigned Saturday in a statement issued to Politico through a Department of Transportation spokeswoman, who called the allegations raised "troubling."

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“We were unaware of the information that is being reported but those allegations, if they are true, are troubling," Marianne McInerney said Saturday. "Heath Hall has resigned his position at the Department effective immediately.”

Politico reports that Hall, who joined the FRA as its acting head last year, appeared on local Mississippi TV stations at least twice on behalf of the Madison County sheriff's office, in a community where Hall is a longtime owner of a media and public relations firm.

An FRA employee told the website that she fielded at least three other media requests from Mississippi media last summer shortly after Hall took over the agency.

The FRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Hall was previously placed on an extended leave of absence last month due to a family emergency, the FRA told Politico.

The resignation of the railroad agency's top official comes amid a slew of incidents related to rail transportation in just the past few weeks.

Last week, a train carrying GOP lawmakers collided with a truck in Virginia, killing one person in the truck. Another Amtrak crash in Columbia, S.C., earlier this week killed two people and injured nearly 90 others. In Maryland, an Amtrak train broke apart early Monday morning due to a "mechanical issue" that caused no injuries or deaths.