Metra CEO gets pay increase of $11,600

Metra directors approved a 3.7% salary increase for Executive Director Jim Derwinski Wednesday, which brings his earnings to $325,825 annually.

The action comes as Chicago area transit agencies face a “fiscal cliff” in 2026 and Metra ridership continues to lag pre-pandemic totals.

Derwinski’s latest salary was $314,200.

“The last time Jim received a salary adjustment was in January 2022,” Chair Romayne Brown said. “He has worked hard and diligently in these challenging times. He has been a strong leader, an innovator and has always looked to modernize our system.”

Board Director and former Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon said the board underwent a 90-day process to review Derwinski’s performance, speaking with external and internal sources.

“We received very positive comments about (his) performance and leadership,” McMahon said.

For comparison, the CEO of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, which serves the Philadelphia area, has an annual salary of $425,000, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Metra along with the CTA and Pace are anticipating a $730 million shortfall when federal COVID-19 aid runs out in two years.

Derwinski previously served in the U.S. Navy as an electrician with nuclear submarines, and was a locomotive electrician with a freight railroad before joining Metra in 1997. He held a number of positions before being appointed as chief mechanical officer in 2013 and was chosen as executive director in 2017.

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