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Some progress on Metra watchdog
By Marni Pyke | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/30/2010 12:00 AM

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Entrusting the selection of a Metra inspector general to local state's attorneys is one idea that may be gaining momentum among transit officials and state lawmakers.

State Sen. Susan Garrett, a Lake Forest Democrat, and Metra leaders met Wednesday on the controversial issue that surfaced in the wake of a financial misconduct investigation at the agency.

Garrett has pushed for someone chosen independent of the Metra board and favored a selection committee composed of the governor, attorney general, state executive inspector general, auditor general and someone from the national association of inspectors general.

Metra officials said they also want an independent watchdog but prefer someone picked by the Regional Transportation Authority, which has oversight of the three transit agencies in the region. Another option is an IG named by the people who appoint the Metra board of directors, who include the Chicago mayor, the chairman of the DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will County Boards, and Cook County Board members.

One idea discussed Wednesday was to form a selection committee composed of state's attorneys from Metra's ridership area that would choose an IG for Metra, the RTA and Pace.

"We certainly made some progress," Garrett said of the meeting.

"We're working with Sen. Garrett and listening to the various proposals," Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said.