Metra director says it's time to vote on chairman
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One Metra director will put the chairmanship of Metra to a vote at the agency's next meeting in August following revelations agency Chairman and Orland Park Trustee Brad O'Halloran received two stipends.
""We're on the verge of nonfunctional," said Director Jack Schaffer of Cary.
Metra is reeling from public criticism over a separation agreement giving up to $718,000 to Metra ex-CEO Alex Clifford, who has accused O'Halloran of condoning political patronage at the agency.
Illinois state law prohibits Metra directors who are appointed or elected to local governments from double-dipping. O'Halloran did not return phone calls or emails.
"It's the last straw," said Schaffer, who said he'll seek a vote on whether O'Halloran should step down at the agency's Aug. 16 meeting.
There's no ambiguity about double dipping — it's not allowed — say Metra board directors who also serve or served as elected officials.
"We had to pick one or the other," said former Arlington Heights Mayor and Metra Director Arlene Mulder, who gave up her municipal salary when she was appointed to Metra.
"We knew prior to going in ... and willingly complied," said South Holland Village President and Metra Director Don De Graff.
State Rep. David Harris on Monday called for O'Halloran to resign immediately. Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican, is among the lawmakers investigating Metra over the separation agreement, as is the Regional Transportation Authority and two state inspectors general.
O'Halloran has denied any misconduct and questioned why Clifford didn't turn his suspicions, which surfaced in 2012, over to authorities immediately.
Orland Park officials confirmed O'Halloran, who has served on the Metra board since 2011, asked the village to stop his pay in December, just after he was elected chairman.
On July 15, the village received a $22,167 check covering what O'Halloran thought he'd been paid, a few days after a hearing where lawmakers such as Harris grilled Metra leaders about Clifford's departure. The village has not yet cashed the check while it researches the correct protocol and exact amount owed, which is closer to $21,967, officials said.
"The revelation that he accepted his salary from Orland Park at the same time he was taking his salary as Metra board chairman demonstrates his total disregard for acting in the public interest," Harris said.
The Metra chairman is paid $25,000 a year while Metra directors receive a $15,000 stipend annually.
Neither Mulder nor De Graff would comment on whether O'Halloran should step down.
Schaffer, a former Illinois senator from 1973 to 1999, receives a Metra stipend and a state pension. He cast the only vote against the separation agreement for Clifford that was approved June 21.
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