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Kane, DuPage OK picks for Metra board

Kane and DuPage counties approved their new members for the Metra board on Tuesday.

The Kane County Board approved Chairman Chris Lauzen’s selection of federal bankruptcy Judge Manuel Barbosa to the Metra board.

Also, former St. Charles Mayor Don Dewitte was approved as the Kane County representative on the RTA board.

In DuPage, Naperville resident and former County Board member John Zediker was approved as that county’s member on the Metra board.

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said the selection of Zediker was important, given the controversies surrounding the Metra board.

“There will be no learning curve with John Zediker,” Cronin said. “He is also someone who has a basic knowledge of funding.”

All DuPage County Board members voted in favor of Zediker, except for Elizabeth Chaplin (D-Downers Grove) and Lauren Nowak (D-Bartlett), who voted present.

Chaplin said she voted present because she was a “little concerned with the process.”

She said County Board members should have been provided with more information about all the applicants who wanted to join the Metra board.

“We want to make sure the process is fair and open,” she said.

County Board member James Healy (R-Naperville) defended the process.

“The chairman makes the appointment with the advice and consent of the County Board. I believe we are doing it the correct way,” he said.

Zediker will replace Paul Darley, who resigned as DuPage County’s representative on the Metra board in July.

In Kane County, Lauzen said the Metra representative needs to keep in mind the big picture.

“Our job is to focus on the real objective, to improve mass transit,” Lauzen said.

For the Metra post, he said he was looking for someone who was trustworthy and was capable of relationship building. He said Elgin resident and judge Barbosa fits the criteria well.

“You think about what a federal bankruptcy judge has to go through with the FBI for a background check,” Lauzen said. “Federal judges are held to the highest of standards.”

Lauzen also spoke highly of Dewitte for the RTA post.

“We need a strong voice for Kane County,” he said. “We need someone who’s been on the front lines.”

The Kane Metra position opened up when Mike McCoy resigned amidst the agency’s recent turmoil. Kane’s RTA representative, Nabi Fakroddin, resigned after finding that his simultaneous service on the Illinois Human Rights Commission was deemed a conflict of interest.

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