Metra commuter rail

Metra commuter rail (Tribune Illustration)

Another DuPage County resident stepped forward today, complaining that he asked last month to be considered for an appointment to Metra's board but never heard back from County Chairman Dan Cronin, who plans to name a fellow politician to the post.

Lombard resident Mike Corso said that as a 27-year Metra rider, he was interested in applying for DuPage's vacant seat on Metra's board because he was concerned about the quality and cost of service.

Corso, 48, who serves as a volunteer on Lombard's transportation and safety committee, obtained a letter of recommendation from Lombard's village president, and offered to forgo the $15,000 salary for Metra board members.

Corso sent Cronin his letter Aug. 5, and Village President Keith Giagnorio sent his letter of recommendation on Aug. 8, saying he had no doubt that Corso "would serve with utmost professionalism and commitment." But Corso said he got no response.

Corso, an investigator for the Chicago Board Options Exchange who commutes daily on Metra's UP West Line, said his biggest concern is that Metra's board ought to have members who are regular riders.

"The first qualification for the Metra board should not be that it is a 'patronage' gig, but it should be that you are a regular Metra rider," Corso said. "I would like to know if a current board member has endured a three-hour delay, or a broken down train, or 30 percent increases in fares."

Cronin selected former DuPage County Board member John Zediker to fill a vacant seat on Metra's beleaguered board, bypassing Corso and at least two other residents who applied for the post but said they were not interviewed.

Cronin will submit Zediker's name to the County Board for confirmation Tuesday, as first reported today by the Tribune.

Zediker, 41, a Naperville Republican, served on the County Board for three years but lost his seat in last year's election.

He would become the second resident of Naperville on the commuter rail agency's board, joining acting Chairman Jack Partelow, who lives in the Will County part of the city.

Neither Cronin nor Zediker responded to the Tribune's requests for comment.

Cronin reviewed applicants' resumes but believed Zediker was the best candidate, said Judy Pardonnet, Cronin's spokeswoman.

She defended the process that the chairman followed in selecting Zediker as thorough and fair.

Approximately 30 people submitted applications for the Metra appointment, and "several" were interviewed, Pardonnet said.

Anyone who applied but who did not get a response from Cronin should not feel slighted, she said.

"There is no guarantee of a callback," she said.

She compared the process to being interviewed for a job but not finding out the result until the final decision was made.

In this case, that will be done Tuesday by the DuPage board, then letters will be sent to all the unsuccessful applicants, she said.

"I'm sure there are a lot of people who have individual skills, but at the end of the day, Chairman Cronin looked at John (Zediker)  and the broad mix of skills he has and felt he could do the best job," Pardonnet said.

Zediker has a planning background in both the public and private sectors, as well as experience working within Illinois' political structure and fund constraints, she said.