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Metra chairman faces challenges

By Jeff Vorva

Veteran Orland Park village Trustee Brad O’Halloran likens the Village Board to a “ship that sails pretty smoothly.”

That might not be quite the same description for his new venture.

Last Friday, the Metra Board of Directors voted O’Halloran as the new chairman of the commuter rail service. He is the third chairman in Metra’s history. Past chairpersons were Jeffrey Ladd (1984-2006) and Carole R. Doris (2006-2011). Larry Huggins served as acting chairman since April, 2011.

While it’s a part-time job, O’Halloran noted it’s an important position.

“My job is to represent and look at the entire system and make sure the resources are being spread adequately,” he said Monday. “And it’s to make sure the needs are being met for the travelling public.”

O’Halloran has served on the Orland Park Village Board since 1993 and his term is up in April. He has not decided if he will run again. “I’m still sort of thinking it through,” he said.

His Metra appointment comes on the heels of a controversial threeyear stretch for the agency.

Phil Pagano, Metra’s executive director died in a reported suicide in May, 2010 when he stepped in front of a Metra train in McHenry County shortly after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office began conducting an investigation into his finances.