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updated: 9/30/2013 5:58 PM

CTA veteran moving to Metra board as Preckwinkle's choice

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  • The Metra board is up to nine members with the appointment of retired transit manager Romayne Brown on Monday. Two seats remain vacant.

      The Metra board is up to nine members with the appointment of retired transit manager Romayne Brown on Monday. Two seats remain vacant.
    Daily Herald file photo


Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle picked a former CTA conductor and executive to take a seat on the troubled Metra board Monday.

Retired transit manager Romayne Brown, who must be confirmed by the county board, replaces former Director Stanley Rakestraw, who resigned amid concerns over whether he lived in suburban Cook County as required.

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Brown, 58, who lives in Dolton, started at the Chicago Transit Authority as a conductor and later became vice president of rail operations. She will not accept the $15,000 stipend Metra board members receive.

Brown retired in 2010 and also served as superintendent of rail personnel and general manager of rail operations.

That leaves two open positions on the 11-member board. On Tuesday, applicants for those spots will testify about their qualifications before two Cook County committees.

Metra's been under the gun since June when former CEO Alex Clifford left with a bang, accusing two top board directors who've since resigned of misconduct and condoning political patronage over jobs. Clifford's so-called golden parachute separation agreement of up to $718,000 drew outrage from lawmakers and the public, leading to calls for the board to leave en masse.

Clifford's separation package and misconduct allegations are under investigation by two state inspectors general. Five directors resigned amid the chaos, one official's term expired and two members -- former Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder and former state Sen. Jack Schaffer of Cary -- have announced they won't seek reappointment when their terms end in June.

That leaves three board directors from the Clifford era remaining with eight incoming newcomers. Among their duties will be picking a permanent executive director and a chairman who, according to Metra policy, must be a resident of Cook County.

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