The Regional Transportation District on Tuesday night appointed Paul Ballard as the agency’s new interim general manager and CEO.
Ballard was chosen in a 9-6 vote and will replace outgoing leader Dave Genova, who retired on Jan. 20, although a start date has not yet been announced due to pending contract negotiations.
“My Board colleagues and I think that Mr. Ballard will skillfully lead us into RTD’s next era while also ensuring that the agency’s employees remain focused on their service to the public,” board chairwoman Angie Rivera-Malpiede said in a statement. “On behalf of every Board member, we want to thank the community for its input as part of this process. We look forward to working with him in the months ahead.”
Ballard brings more than 40 years of experience as a leader in public and private sector transit systems.
He retired in 2019 as the former president and CEO of Trinity Metro in Fort Worth, Texas. There, 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.
He also served as the leader of the Nashville MTA and Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee.
Ballard wrote in his cover letter that, although he would serve in the interim, he would help find the transit agency a chief for the long term.
“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. “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, as was required in the application, 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.”
RTD’s board of directors approved on Tuesday night to allocate up to $200,000 to fund the permanent search for a new leader. The money will cover the use of an executive search firm, communications outreach for the search, and external legal counsel to manage negotiations for both Ballard and the permanent CEO.
RTD leadership has said that the top spot could be filled permanently sometime between four and 14 months from now.