Hinsdale businessman confirmed for RTA post over Democrats' objections
A Hinsdale businessman has been named DuPage's representative on the Regional Transit Authority board, despite strong criticism from most Democrats on the county board.
County board members voted 10-5 Tuesday to confirm David Andalcio's appointment. He fills the seat formerly held by Patrick Durante, whose term ended last month.
In a statement released hours after the vote, Andalcio said he looks forward to serving riders from across the region.
"I believe my extensive professional background, including transportation-related work experience, will allow me to provide invaluable insight on the RTA Board," he said. "I look forward to meeting my fellow board colleagues and getting started on the work ahead."
Andalcio is the CEO of Wynndalco Enterprises, which provides IT, E-rate consulting, and design engineering and construction management services.
County board Chairman Dan Cronin said he chose Andalcio for the RTA because his background in engineering, technology and transportation "makes him the right person for this vacancy at this time."
"David Andalcio is qualified and dedicated to serving this community," Cronin said.
But while most board members supported the appointment, five of the panel's seven Democrats -- Elizabeth Chaplin of Downers Grove, Dawn DeSart of Aurora, Mary FitzGerald Ozog of Glen Ellyn, Julie Renehan of Hinsdale and Sheila Rutledge of West Chicago -- voted against it.
Ozog said she has "some grave concerns" about Andalcio getting a 5-year term on the RTA board, which provides financial oversight of Pace, Metra, the CTA and paratransit.
She said one of those concerns is that Andalcio's company has done work for Metra and Pace. She said she believes having him on the RTA will create a conflict of interest.
"It seems to me a little bit like a fox watching the hen house," Ozog said.
Ozog also raised questions about the selection process. "I don't feel that this has been a transparent process," she said.
Critics also voiced concerns about campaign contributions Andalcio made to Cronin.
"This is a political appointment by a political donor to your campaign and others," Chaplin said during an exchange with Cronin.
But board member Sam Tornatore said contributions shouldn't disqualify potential appointees.
"If someone is going to be disqualified from serving this community because they write a check to help a candidate get elected, then ... this is insanity," the Roselle Republican said.
Board member Greg Hart, meanwhile, said Andalcio is "exceptionally qualified."
The Hinsdale Republican urged fellow board members to put aside politics "and make sure that we're putting someone in here who is going to represent our interest."
"I have no doubt that Mr. Andalcio is that person," he said.
Andalcio is a former member of the Illinois tollway board who was appointed to that panel in 2003 by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He stepped down in 2009 to focus on his business.