Shakeup of CATS leadership; Second in charge leaving

Changes come after months of WBTV Investigations into problems with the bus system
A shakeup of CATS leadership comes after numerous WBTV Investigations.
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 11:54 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The second-in-command at the Charlotte Area Transit System is leaving the organization. New job postings from the City of Charlotte show the city is seeking a new Chief Operating Officer and WBTV sources confirm that current COO Allen Smith is leaving.

The shakeup comes after months of WBTV Investigations highlighting problems plaguing CATS bus operations division.

It’s not the only change coming to CATS. The job postings also show the city is creating a new position, Transit Chief Administrative Officer and is hiring a new Marketing and Communications Officer.

COO Allen Smith was rarely heard from at Charlotte council meetings. However, within the CATS organization, Smith played an important roll in oversight of the transit system, according to WBTV sources.

City Manager Marcus Jones announced an external review of the CATS organization after a WBTV Investigation brought to light that a contractor was calling many of the shots in the bus operations division. Follow-up WBTV Investigations revealed issues with safety, fare collection, and buses not showing up to scheduled stops.

A city spokesperson says the review from Managing Partners is not completed yet. However, the creation of a new executive position within CATS before results of the review have been shared with city leadership would be unusual.

There is currently no indication that the shakeup of CATS leadership includes current CEO John Lewis.

Update: A spokesperson for CATS says Smith is retiring. They did not specify when the decision was made but said it was recent.