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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

After nearly 20 years driving the bus, Spokane Transit Authority CEO Susan Meyer announces retirement

Spokane Transit Authority CEO Susan Meyer uses large scissors to cut a ribbon as Spokane Transit officials and members of the public watch at Coeur d’Alene Park in Spokane in 2023. The ribbon cutting signified the launch of the new City Line buses in Spokane.  (Garrett Cabeza / The Spokesman-Review)
By Amanda Sullender and Nick Gibson The Spokesman-Review

Spokane Transit Authority CEO Susan Meyer announced her retirement Thursday after 19 years leading the public transportation system.

“It has been a profound privilege to be the chief executive officer at Spokane Transit,” Meyer said in a statement. “Nineteen years ago, I didn’t expect my career would take me to the public sector or to transit, but I am grateful that it did. I found the perfect place to serve the community I love alongside people who are passionate about our mission.”

Meyer, who declined an interview request, was hired in 2005 and has overseen an expansion of public transit, including the launch of Spokane’s all-electric City Line.

In her statement, Meyer said it was best a new leader implement the agency’s next strategic plan – claiming the organization is in “good hands” as she transitions out of her role over the next six months.

STA Board Chairman and Spokane County Commissioner Al French said Meyer has “demonstrated incredible leadership” over her long tenure as CEO.

In 2005, French was chair of the task force that hired Meyer. In his current role, French plans to be involved in choosing her successor.

“Every one of the metrics we set for (Meyer) she passed. She did an incredible job for our community,” he said.

French said the board may find a replacement before Meyer leaves in six months or they may internally hire an interim CEO while the search continues after her departure.

Spokane Valley Deputy Mayor Tim Hattenburg, who’s served on the STA board since 2020, said Meyer leaves behind a legacy that will affect generations of Spokane residents.

“She was very dedicated to her job,” Hattenburg said. “If she launched into something, it was going to be done well, and it was going to be done right.”

Hattenburg cited expanded services, additional security measures at the STA Plaza downtown and efforts to assist Spokane Public Schools when they were struggling to find drivers in 2021 as examples of Meyer’s commitment to the community.

“She’s going to be hard to replace,” Hattenburg said. “She’s done some amazing things.”

STA board member and Spokane city councilwoman Kitty Klitzke called Meyer a “trailblazer.”

We were on different sides of the political spectrum and don’t agree on some issues,” Klitzke said. “But she embraced the concept of transit as CEO and worked to expand services even while being fiscally responsible.”

Klitzke hopes Meyer’s replacement can work to expand the frequency of service and hours of operation for STA buses.

“We’ve been a fiscally conservative entity for so long. It will be interesting to see if we can take a leap into a risk or stay the course,” she said.