Former Kane County Board Chairman Mike McCoy will again represent the county, but this time it will be as an appointee to the embattled Metra board of directors.
A task force of Kane County Board members selected McCoy -- one of four finalists -- from an initial group of 41 candidates. Task force members, though wary of allegations of cronyism surrounding the current Metra board, said they selected McCoy because of his political ties not despite them.
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"We need someone who can hit the ground running and Mike is a guy who will be on a first-name basis with the mayors and political leaders in the county. At the same time, Mike's been out of politics for seven years. I don't see this appointment as cronyism," task force member Drew Frasz said.
While out of political office, McCoy has put his civil engineering background to work. He's been employed as a senior project manager for Lisle-based Omega & Associates since 2009. The firm has won contracts with both Kane County and Metra for several projects, including a portion of the Stearns Road corridor. McCoy doesn't have any ownership interest in Omega & Associates but said he expects the company will no longer pursue contracts with Metra once he takes his place on the Metra board of directors. McCoy said his company does currently work with Metra as a subcontractor of another company and may continue that work.
"I'll do full disclosure and do what's right," McCoy said. "I certainly would never do anything that would have a conflict or involve any impropriety."
As a show of good faith, McCoy said he's committed to not accepting the health insurance nor pension benefits of the appointment. He said he believes the pension perk is something the Metra board should consider dropping as a whole as pension obligations are eating holes in budgets all across the state. McCoy will, however, take the $15,000 salary. He said the Metra board's job is to make policy decisions, and there's much work to do on that front.
"There's clearly some lack of accounting controls," McCoy said. "I think they are in the process of addressing those, but they also have some serious budget matters to tackle."
Kane County's current representative on the Metra board is former County Board member Caryl Van Overmeiren. County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay said Van Overmeiren spoke with task force members Tuesday about issues McCoy must be prepared to handle as he comes onto the board. McConnaughay said Van Overmeiren has agreed to resign effective the moment McCoy's appointment is finalized. That appointment will come before the county board's Executive Committee Wednesday morning. It is expected to be voted on July 12 by the full county board.
Van Overmeiren declined to comment on her resignation Tuesday.