House panel rejects clearing Metra board

 
 
Updated 4/11/2011 9:19 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- A plan to remove all the Metra board members from their posts and strip away future members' salaries, pensions and benefits was rejected by a House committee Monday.

The plan, sponsored by Rep. Jack Franks, was filed in response to the misspending of former Metra CEO Phil Pagano, who committed suicide, as well as expenses made by board members that he called questionable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Metra has become a culture of entitlement that lacks accountability," the Marengo Democrat said.

His fellow lawmakers disagreed with Franks' methods, rejecting his proposal by a 6-16 vote.

Rep. Mike Tryon, a Crystal Lake Republican, said many of the board members are qualified to serve on Metra's board and shouldn't be blamed for Pagano's misdeeds.

"I'm willing to give them a chance to make the changes that need to be made," Tryon said.

Other critics said the legislation didn't keep current members from being reappointed. Opponents also questioned if a different approach that could look at all the state's boards and commissions would be better.

Franks could tweak the plan and ask for another vote in the coming months.