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It’s official: The Regional Transportation District has a new leader, albeit a temporary one.

RTD’s board of directors on Tuesday night approved a $350,000 contract for interim general manager and CEO Paul Ballard, who will step into the role by Feb. 26.

“We look forward to Mr. Ballard bringing his years of experience to RTD as we navigate through this important transitional year for the agency,” RTD Board Chair Angie Rivera-Malpiede said in a statement. “The process for finding the permanent general manager and CEO begins now and we are committed to finding the right person who can lead RTD into the future.”

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Ballard, one of five candidates considered for the interim position, was chosen to lead in a 9-6 vote in late January. He replaces Dave Genova, who recently retired after four years, making $295,000 annually.

Ballard brings more than 40 years of experience as a leader in public and private sector transit systems.

He retired last year as the former president and CEO of Trinity Metro in Fort Worth, Texas. There, he oversaw the rollout of a 27-mile commuter line that connected Fort Worth to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, as reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“I have hired hundreds of transit management personnel. I can help the board select the right search firm or process, and then keep that effort on schedule,” he wrote in his cover letter when applying for the interim position. “I am not a candidate for the permanent GM/CEO position and would be an impartial coordinator of the process on behalf of the board.”

Ballard did not mention his salary expectations in his cover letter, but disclosed he was paid $303,000 in 2019. He also noted he earned $50,000 the past two years in incentive payments for “meeting operational construction and financial goals.”

The RTD board remains on the hunt for an executive recruiting firm to manage the national search for a new permanent leader.

RTD leadership has said that the top spot could be filled permanently sometime between four and 14 months from now.

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