DuPage chairman picks Naperville resident for Metra board
By Stefano Esposito Staff Reporter September 6, 2013 9:43AM
Updated: October 8, 2013 6:07AM
When the DuPage County Board votes, as expected on Tuesday to fill the county’s vacant seat on Metra’s troubled board, they’ll be picking one of their own — former county board member and Naperville resident John Zediker.
Board Chairman Dan Cronin has bypassed other applicants and will recommend Zediker, 41, be appointed to the seat on the Metra’s board.
“The vote is definitely on the agenda for next Tuesday,” said Cronin spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet.
“I’ve been offered both congratulations and condolences — sometimes in the same email,” said Zediker, currently the chief operating officer of an engineering firm in Far Southwest suburban Shorewood. “At the end of the day, I have a lot of talents and experiences that I can lend to helping Metra and represent the constituents and residents of DuPage County well.”
Mary FitzGerald Ozog, a Glen Ellyn woman who applied for the job, has blasted the selection process as lacking transparency.
“I was a completely viable candidate, and I sit on a school board that has a $150 million budget,” said Ozog, who is a Glenbard High School District 87 board member. “We’re one of the 5 percent of school districts (in Illinois) operating in the black.”
Pardonnet said Zediker is the best candidate because “he has a very unique blend of experience,” including being the former head of the city of Naperville’s transportation department.
“Right now, it’s a crisis (at Metra), and Dan Cronin chose a person he felt was best qualified to go into the position based on the current conditions,” Pardonnet said.
She said Ozog’s resume was reviewed and that she was offered an interview for a possible Metra opening in the future but she said Ozog declined.
“The individual we’re talking about hasn’t had any transportation experience since the 1980s,” Pardonnet said. “It was thought Mr. Zediker’s experience is much more extensive. He’s had leadership roles.”
A spokeswoman for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Friday that Preckwinkle hopes to name her Metra appointment by the Cook County Board meeting Wednesday.
That person would fill the seat vacated by Stanley Rakestraw, who stepped down after Preckwinkle asked for his resignation because he no longer lived in the suburbs, as is required. Rakestraw had moved to Chicago after a fire destroyed his south suburban Flossmoor home.
Contributing: Rosalind Rossi