Mulder, Schaffer exit Metra board
A year after one of Metra's most controversial chapters opened, a revamped board bid farewell to two veteran members Friday.
Outgoing Directors Jack Schaffer, a former state senator from Cary, and Arlene Mulder, former Arlington Heights mayor, weathered the dramatic exit of former CEO Alex Clifford in June 2013 amid a political scandal and the suicide of CEO Phil Pagano amid a financial probe in spring 2010.
Chairman Martin Oberman, who wasn't on the board when directors approved a controversial separation agreement with Clifford last year, referenced the turmoil of 2013 and "the hue and cry everybody on the board should leave."
"Fortunately that did not happen," he said. "For those of us who came in here new, it would have been impossible to function as a board and properly manage Metra with the continuity and intelligence these two board members have brought."
Vice Chairman Jack Partelow of Naperville told Mulder she served "Metra in the best of times and in the worst of times with a high degree of class."
"You clearly exemplified someone who was out to be selfless," Director Don DeGraff said.
Farewells to Schaffer were a combination of toasts and a good-humored roast with directors praising his frankness and pithy comments.
Oberman said he'd need to appoint a "chairman of outspokenness" in Schaffer's absence and DeGraff praised him for "saying things the rest of us think."
Partelow said jokingly when Schaffer went into the Metra "hall of fame" the only words on his plaque should read "hell, no."
The reference was to Schaffer casting the only vote against the separation agreement with Clifford. The former CEO, whom Schaffer supported, departed after accusing two former board chairmen of condoning political patronage pressure over jobs from lawmakers including Speaker Michael Madigan.