The chief financial officer of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District is on a paid leave of absence, transit district officials said Thursday.

David Heath of Sebastopol, who has served as chief financial officer and was briefly interim general manager, could not be reached for comment.

It was unclear Thursday whether Heath had been placed on leave by the agency or had requested the status. General Manager Farhad Mansourian would say only that Heath was on a paid leave.

"He is still a SMART employee; no comment," Mansourian said. "We won't discuss personnel issues."

Heath joined SMART in July 2010, leaving the city of Santa Rosa, where he had been chief financial officer for three years. The SMART position pays $165,000 a year.

When SMART General Manager Lillian Hames abruptly resigned in January, Heath served as interim general manager for four months before Mansourian was brought in.

Mansourian said that for now he is assuming the duties of chief financial officer.