Former Chicago Alderman Martin Oberman was elected Tuesday as the new Metra Board chairman. Oberman is the first Chicagoan to be elected Metra chair in the transit agency's history.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel nominated Oberman after forcing former board member Larry Huggins off the board. Huggins was embrolied in the Metra patronage scandal that erupted last summer.
“They see in Marty Oberman what I saw when I decided to nominate him: A person committed to public service, committed to the task ahead of him and bringing a vision of how to modernize something that will help serve the overall regional economy, which Chicago is the center of,” Emanuel said at an unrelated event Tuesday morning, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“ I’m accountable as mayor for the CTA, ...” he continued. “But having a modern transportation system also includes one that allows people in the city to get to jobs in the suburbs and people in the suburbs to get to jobs here in the city. Metra is integral to that. Having a coordinated strategy between CTA and Metra is key to that.”
Oberman will complete former Metra board chair Brad O'Halloran's term, which ends in fall 2016. O'Halloran resigned after pushing for the $871,000 payout to former Metra CEO Alex Clifford, which has been coined as a "hush money" payment meant to keep the patronage allegations underwraps.