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Phoenix-area transit system keeps Scott Smith as CEO

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PHOENIX — Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith will stay on board as CEO of the Phoenix area’s transit system, it was announced this week.

Smith, the former mayor of Mesa, took over the Valley Metro top job on an interim basis in February.

The bus and light-rail system’s previous chief executive, Stephen Banta, had resigned under a cloud of suspicion in November 2015.

Valley Metro’s two boards of directors offered Smith a two-year appointment. Salary and other details were being finalized.

Smith, who served as Mesa mayor from 2008 to 2014, resigned from that post to run for governor on the GOP ticket. He lost to eventual Gov. Doug Ducey in the primary.

He oversees a transit system that has an annual budget of nearly $500 million.

Phoenix City Councilwoman Thelda Williams said Smith has brought a “refreshing level of professionalism, accountability and integrity” to Valley Metro.

Banta left after published reports questioned of thousands of dollars in expenses he turned in that were paid with public money.

Valley Metro reached a civil settlement with Banta.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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