RTD Board selects interim leader to transition the agency into a new era
The RTD Board of Directors chose former Fort Worth, Texas, transit CEO Paul Ballard on Tuesday night as the interim general manager and CEO for the Denver metro agency, and will begin negotiations on Ballard’s contract.
Ballard, who retired from Fort Worth’s Trinity Metro transit agency last year, was the only finalist from outside Colorado. He told the board during the application process that he does not want to be considered for RTD’s permanent general manager and CEO position, the national search for which could take several months to more than a year. The Board voted 9 to 6 to select and appoint Ballard to the interim role.
“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,” Chair Angie Rivera-Malpiede said. “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.”
In his application materials for the interim position, Ballard told the Board that his primary accomplishments in recent years include overseeing the opening of commuter rail lines in Fort Worth and Nashville, where he was previously transit CEO. “I am the ‘dynamic, collaborative and progressive executive’ you are seeking to lead your organization on an interim basis,” Ballard wrote.
Presuming negotiations are successfully completed, Ballard will fill the position left by longtime RTD leader Dave Genova, who retired from RTD this month after 26 years, nearly four as general manager and CEO.
In the meantime, RTD will move forward with a national search for a permanent leader. At Tuesday’s special meeting, the Board approved the designation of up to $200,000 to cover the cost of activities associated with an executive search, including the use of a recruiting firm, external legal counsel to conduct negotiations for both the interim and permanent general manager and CEO positions, and other needs. The Board rejected an initial proposal to designate $400,000, with some members saying that tight oversight of agency spending is crucial to earn public trust. Search money, they said, could be added if needed.