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updated: 10/2/2013 6:52 PM

Former CTA lawyer from Wilmette heads to Metra board

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  • Marni Pyke/mpyke@dailyherald.comJohn Plante will join new Metra board directors John Zediker, far left, and Manuel Barbosa, far right.

      Marni Pyke/mpyke@dailyherald.comJohn Plante will join new Metra board directors John Zediker, far left, and Manuel Barbosa, far right.

 
 

A retired Chicago Transit Authority attorney from Wilmette is the next new Metra board member.

Cook County commissioners agreed Wednesday to sendJohn Plante of Wilmette to Metra.

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"I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the Metra board. There's a lot of challenges coming down the road," Plante said, adding that he rides Metra frequently.

Plante will represent the townships of Evanston, Leyden, New Trier, Niles, Norwood Park, Maine, Oak Park and Riverside.

Numerous board members resigned during a turbulent summer in which former CEO Alex Clifford exited after accusing two directors of misconduct. Plante replaces Director William Widmer whose term has expired.

Plante recently was the CTA's senior manager for emergency preparedness and is accredited as a professional emergency manager by the state of Illinois.

During an open hearing Tuesday, where commissioners interviewed candidates, Plante said safety on Metra would be a priority with him if appointed. After a 35-year career, "I know how to get things done," he said.

Metra board directors are chosen by a mix of Collar County chairman, the Cook County board president and commissioners, and Chicago's mayor.

The RTA Act requires that Cook County commissioners pick Metra representatives by a weighted vote.

For Plante's position representing the northwest suburbs, District 13's Larry Suffredin had 38.3 percent of the vote, followed by the 9th District's Peter Silvestri with 23.7 percent; the 14th District's Gregg Goslin with 15.5 percent; the 17th District's Liz Doody Gorman with 10.24 percent; the 1st District's Earlean Collins with 7.55 percent; and the 16th District's Jeffrey Tobolski with 4.7 percent.

Suffredin said Plante's legal expertise and emergency preparedness background helped win him the spot.

The selection of Plante makes it 10 members on the Metra board and leaves one vacancy. In August, the board was down to the bare minimum of six directors.

Cook Commissioners also interviewed candidates for a spot on Metra's board representing the southwest suburbs, but a decision is not expected this week.

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