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Valley Metro appointed Scott Smith interim chief executive officer effective Feb. 1, the Phoenix transit agency announced late last week. Smith takes the reins from Eric Anderson, who has served as acting CEO since Stephen Banta's resignation in December 2015.A private-sector CEO, accountant and attorney, Smith was elected mayor of Mesa, Ariz., in 2008. He used his business experience to reorganize the city and reduce its budget by nearly 20 percent, Valley Metro officials said in a press release. Additionally, Smith helped recruit five liberal arts colleges to Mesa, which complemented Valley Metro's recent light-rail expansion into the city's downtown area. He left the mayor's office in spring 2014 to run for governor of Arizona, but lost to Doug Ducey in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Most recently, he served as a resident fellow in the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass.
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