Kane seeking applicants to transit agency boards
From Staff Reports August 16, 2013 8:32PM
Nabi R. Fakroddin
Updated: September 20, 2013 6:14AM
Kane County is seeking applicants for appointment to the boards of what have become two troubled regional mass transit agencies — the Regional Transportation Authority and Metra.
Kane County’s prior representative on the RTA board, Nabi Fakroddin, resigned earlier this month, citing a conflict of interest because he simultaneously serves on the Illinois Human Rights Commission.
Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, with the board’s consent, had appointed Fakroddin to the RTA Board in April, and his term was scheduled to end in 2017. Lauzen said he did not know that the dual roles would become a conflict.
Mike McCoy, the county’s former representative on the Metra Board, resigned in late July, citing time constraints but also saying he had lost interest in serving on the board of an agency that has become embroiled in scandal and political infighting.
Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday issued an executive order creating a task force charged with reforming the mass transit systems.
In announced the order, Quinn said, “It’s clear that the mass transit system in northeastern Illinois is not working for taxpayers.”
It was the latest fallout from the June 21 resignation of Metra CEO Alex Clifford. Clifford’s 26-month, up to $718,000 separation deal, reached with only eight months left on his contract, unleashed a landslide of scrutiny on the Metra board and transit boards throughout the region.
Quinn said the order comes “in the wake of recurring scandals at Metra and ongoing accountability problems over the last decade.’’
Two inspectors general are now investigating Clifford’s allegations that he was forced out because he refused to bend to patronage and contract demands. Five Metra board members have since resigned, two Regional Transportation Authority board members have bowed out, and a Chicago Transit Authority board member resigned — as well as his replacement.
A press release Friday from Lauzen’s office said applications for appointment to the RTA and Metra boards will be accepted Sept. 3.
A formal vetting process by a special review panel is scheduled to begin Sept. 5 for both positions, and it will make recommendations presented to the chairman for a possible final decision and presentation to the board.
The release said the RTA’s primary responsibilities are financial and budget oversight of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace, and regional transit planning issues. The board consists of 15 members and a chairman appointed from the six-county region.
The release noted that the Metra Board is charged with a broad range of responsibilities related to fare and service levels, budgeting, capital programming, long-range planning and strategic service expansion. Metra is one of the largest and one of the most complex commuter rail systems in the nation, with a 2013 operating budget of $713.5 million and a total 2013 capital program of $325.4 million.
An applicant for either board must be a Kane County resident to qualify for consideration. According to state law, RTA board members may not be an officer, a member of the board or trustees or an employee of any transit service board (Metra, Pace or CTA) or transportation agency. The person also cannot be an employee of the state, or of any unit of local government or receive any compensation from any elected or appointed office, except that a director may be a member of a school board. The RTA Board position pays $25,000 annually. The Metra Board position pays $15,000 annually, and does not include health or pension benefits.
Neither position includes health or pension benefits.
Applicants must submit a resume and cover letter to the county board office outlining their qualifications and explaining their interest in the position. The county board will make public a list of all applicants as well as finalists.
Applications can be submitted in person, by mail, FAX or sent electronically to Kane County Government Center, 719 Batavia Ave., Building A, County Board Office, 3rd Floor, Geneva, IL 60134. The fax number is 630-232-9188, and office phone number is 630-232-5930. The email address is CLauzen@kanecoboard.org.