Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by doepack
DuPage woman is new Metra chief

By Virginia Groark
Tribune staff reporter
Published August 25, 2006, 1:00 PM CDT

For the first time in 22 years, Metra has a new leader at the helm after the commuter rail agency's board unanimously voted today to elect Carole Doris of DuPage County to be its new chairman.

Doris replaces longtime Chairman Jeffrey Ladd, who stepped down from the board when his most recent term expired in June. Ladd had headed the Metra board since its inception in 1984.

After the vote, Doris, who will be paid $25,000 a year as chairman, gave credit to her predecessor. "The bar has been set very high," she said.

Funding for transit will be a top priority for Doris during her two-year term, but she said that she also wants the agency to do a better job communicating with passengers when troubles arise.

Today's vote culminates months of behind-the-scenes negotiations among the powers that are responsible for appointing the board members.

It also represents a coup for DuPage County Chairman Robert Schillerstrom, who had publicly backed Doris. Schillerstrom appointed her to the Metra board in January 2003.

Doris' election was a loss for Cook County board members who had been angling for someone from suburban Cook to secure the chairmanship.

Another contender for the post, Orland Park Trustee James Dodge, did not secure a leadership position. Instead, he will chair the board's newly created administrative affairs committee.

A Cook County appointee did secure the vice chairmanship of the board with the unanimous election of Elonzo Hill, former chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority's pension fund. Hill has served on the Metra board since 2003.

The board also elected Larry Huggins, a Chicago appointee, to be treasurer, and Arlington Heights Village President Arlene Mulder, a Cook County appointee, to serve as secretary.

A lawyer by profession, Doris formerly served as chief deputy attorney general under ex-Illinois Atty. Gen. Jim Ryan.

Before that she was as a DuPage County assistant state's attorney and deputy chief of that office's civil division.

Doris graduated magna cum laude from Mundelein College in 1969 and obtained her law degree, cum laude, from DePaul University in 1976. A resident of Downers Grove, she is married with two children.

Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune