DENVER — Ahead of the Regional Transportation District (RTD)'s general manager and CEO's retirement, the board of directors has announced five candidates for the interim position.

Dave Genova, the current general manager and CEO, announced his “voluntary retirement” in November after nearly 26 years with the public transportation agency.

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“It has been a privilege to serve the board, our incredible team of employees and our community," Genova said in an RTD news release about the announcement. "I am confident that our very capable leadership team will continue to guide the agency in our mission to serve the traveling public.”

The board said they chose five candidates to take over for Genova from a pool of more than 40 applicants. Over the next week, each of them will be interviewed by the board. 

The agency did not release the names of those candidates.

Whoever is chosen will serve an interim general manager and CEO while the search for a permanent replacement continues.

“The RTD selection committee is committed to conducting a thoughtful and thorough process to find the best person to lead the agency during this interim period, until a permanent CEO is hired," RTD Board of Directors Chair Doug Tisdale said in a release. "It is the group’s utmost priority to select an individual who is ready to lead RTD during both great opportunities and sustained challenges."

Genova notified Tisdale of his retirement in a letter on Nov. 21 – the same night RTD shared the results of a two-week public survey, in which people said they would prefer temporary service cuts over the current unreliable service caused by an operator shortage.

RELATED: RTD explains how service cuts will help reduce need for operators

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RELATED: Results of RTD's survey show majority OK with temp service cuts

In his tenure, Genova oversaw the opening of the University of Colorado A Line, the commuter rail line that runs between downtown Denver and Denver International Airport (DIA). The train had been plagued with concerns from the start, including complaints about train horns and timing issues with crossing gates that delayed federal and state approvals.

He also supervised the delayed opening of the A Line’s sister train, the G Line, which runs from Denver to Arvada and Westminster.

Under Genova's leadership, RTD also expanded light rail further south to Ridgegate Parkway, and added an all-new line to Aurora. Though, that came trouble. Ridership numbers were lower than expected, leading the agency to cut service almost immediately and prompting a public fight between then Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and RTD.

Genova's letter to Tisdale said his last day with RTD will be Jan. 20, 2020, and the announcement said he is committed to a smooth transition.

Genova’s most recent contract began at the start of 2019 and was set to run through Dec. 31, 2023, with auto-renewals scheduled through Dec. 31, 2025. He made a $295,000 salary annually with a 1.5% raise every January.

The contract specified that if Genova left, he would be paid for unused vacation and sick time, and any earned but unpaid base salary.

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