Metra board meeting after 5th member resigns

Metra board meeting after 5th member resigns
August 16, 2013 3:18:27 PM PDT
Rocked by scandal and resignations, Metra's board met Friday to try to reassure riders they are working to make sure trains keep rolling and all passengers are safe after five of the 11 board members recently resigned, leaving just six.

Friday, the acting chairman said he welcomes the task force Governor Quinn appointed Thursday to reform mass transit.

There are five openings on Metra's board.

Friday, the Kane County board chairman announced the board will accept applications for those interested in being appointed to Metra's board.

The Cook County board president is considering appointees and hopes to present someone next month.

And the DuPage County board president showed up in person today to announce plans to appoint someone at least temporarily.

Friday afternoon's commute moved on and commuters can expect to keep on track despite the leadership machinations and ongoing investigations into possible wrong doing by former Metra board members.

Today was the first regular board meeting since Metra's CEO left with a controversial separation agreement and five board members subsequently resigned.

Board members acknowledged the absence and their commitment to carry on.

"We can take the challenges that we have here today as an administration as a team of executive and as a board using good people to make the difference," said Don De Graff.

"Focus on getting our riders where they want to be when they want to be there and keeping the operation moving," said Arlene Mulder. "That's our focus, not all that other stuff that's going on."

Metra's acting general counsel confirms the board with only six members can approve the budget and vote on appropriation and financial control.

Eight members are required to vote on an appointment of a chairman and the appointment of an executive director.

"There are so many things we can do what we can do to keep the railroad running," said acting Chairman Jack Partelow.

Partelow says the leadership and staff who exist will maintain service for now.

"We can keep the railroad we can keep those 81 million people a year that come in and go out on our trains happy comfortable and on time," he said.

The DuPage County board chairman addressed the Metra board Friday and urged a more open and honest process and solutions that include suburban interests.

"I'm afraid it could be too Chicago-centric," Dan Cronin said. "I'm here because I want to make sure there's a fair and equitable distribution of precious transit dollars."

Two inspectors general are investigating Clifford's allegations that he was forced out because he refused patronage hires and politically connected contracts.

The governor also created a transit reform task force.

We reached out to several members of the task force. None cared to comment.


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