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Another former CTA official named to Metra board

Thursday, October 03, 2013
Chicago Tribune
by Richard Wronski

Cook County Commissioners representing north and west suburban townships said they have unanimously appointed retired CTA executive John Plante to the Metra board of directors.

Plante, 68, of Wilmette, becomes the second former CTA official named to Metra’s board.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Monday nominated former CTA official Romayne Brown from Dolton to serve on the scandal-plagued Metra board.

According to a statement from the commissioners’ office, Plante has served in a variety of capacities over a 35-year career with the CTA. Most recently, Plante served as the senior manager for system safety emergency preparedness. In that capacity, Plante coordinated the CTA’s planning and training for responding to emergencies.

Plante was appointed by commissioners representing Evanston, Leyden, New Trier, Niles, Northfield, Norwood Park, Maine, Oak Park and River Forest Townships.

Commissioner Larry Suffredin said Plante was the unanimous choice from a field of 14 individuals.

“ John has the experience and skills to ensure that Metra has what it needs to prevail over its difficulties,” Suffredin said in a statement. “His emergency preparedness work and legal background will help Metra to work through its current problems and foresee any potential future problems. He is an excellent choice.”

Plante will replace Metra board member William Widmer III of Evanston.

His appointment does not need confirmation by the entire Cook County Board.

Preckwinkle’s appointment of Brown to replace Stanley Rakestraw will need confirmation.

Six of Metra’s board members stepped down since June when the board negotiated a controversial $871,000 exit package for ousted CEO Alex Clifford.

Clifford has alleged that he was pushed out because he would not go along with patronage hiring requests and interference in contracts by the board.

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