First, we heard that Steve Banta was going to resign. After that, we heard that Banta was possibly going to rescind his resignation. Tonight, we hear a VERY brief press release that says Mr. Banta’s resignation has been accepted.
Here’s the mountain of information that was put out by Metro:
For immediate release
December 3, 2015
Valley Metro Boards of Directors Accept CEO’s Resignation
Acting CEO named and third-party, independent audit requested of agency finances
PHOENIX, AZ – Following a joint meeting of the Valley Metro RPTA and Valley Metro Rail Boards of Directors, action was taken to accept the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Stephen R. Banta and place him on administrative leave effective immediately. On Monday, December 7, the Boards will meet again to review a separation agreement.
“It’s time for change in the senior leadership role at Valley Metro,” said Phoenix Councilmember, Valley Metro Rail Board Chair and Valley Metro RPTA Board Treasurer Thelda Williams. “We will work over the next few months to audit records and strengthen policies to ensure our expectations and the expectations of taxpayers are better met into the future.”
Eric Anderson, Transportation Director with the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), was named acting CEO while an interim CEO decision can be made. An interim CEO selection is expected at the December 17 joint Board meeting. In early 2016, a national search will be conducted to find a permanent replacement to guide the Valley Metro agency, staff and its mission of providing customers with a safe, efficient and reliable public transit network.
Additionally, the Boards instructed acting CEO Anderson to begin the process of hiring a third-party, independent auditor to review financial policies and records, compliance with these policies and recommend any changes. This audit is in addition to the one being undertaken by the City of Phoenix as the region’s designated federal recipient.
“The Valley Metro agency has done incredible work over the last several decades to improve the public transit system for our residents and visitors,” commented Avondale Councilmember and Valley Metro RPTA Board Chair Jim McDonald. “The good work will continue by the staff as we’re expeditious in finding the next chief executive to continue building a system that connects our communities and enhances our region.”
We all know this isn’t the end of this story. It will be interesting to see if Steve decides to lawyer up. ( update: He has ) It will also be interesting to see what the financial audits say and it will be interesting to see how the transit departments handle all of this fun stuff.
Of course, there’s much more to the story than is detailed in the press release. Apparently, Banta has been offered a snazzy little severance package. He had mentioned ( in the press ) that he would like to attend the little pow wow where his fate was being decided, but his lawyers thought it would be best if he stayed home.
The contract Banta negotiated with Metro look to be pretty brilliant, as ceo’s go. Golden parachute, an all.
Heck, there’s a new extension getting close to opening, there’s the south central route making some progress and a WHOLE bunch of other light rail and transit oriented issues happening in the good ol’ PHX. Believe me, this isn’t the last we’ll hear of the Banta resignation.
We’ll try to keep up.