Metra Board may see fifth member resign
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporter August 15, 2013 2:34AM
Updated: September 17, 2013 8:11AM
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Wednesday asked a Metra Board member whom she appointed to resign his seat after learning that he no longer meets its residency requirement.
Stanley Rakestraw lives in Chicago, but his position requires him to live in suburban Cook County.
In a statement, Preckwinkle said Rakestraw had listed his residence as being in Flossmoor when she appointed him to the 11-member board in February 2012.
“Since he no longer resides in suburban Cook County, he is ineligible to serve as my appointment (to the Metra Board). As soon as I was notified of this fact, I requested Stan Rakestraw’s resignation,” the statement says.
Preckwinkle spokeswoman Kristen Mack said Wednesday evening that Rakestraw had yet to issue his resignation. Asked when it would come, Mack said she hoped it would on Thursday.
Rakestraw could not be reached for comment Wednesday night. He is co-founder, vice president and chief operating officer of SCR Medical Transportation, which contracts with the Pace suburban bus service to transport people with disabilities.
Preckwinkle requested Rakestraw’s resignation after the Chicago Tribune raised questions about his residency, reporting that he moved from Flossmoor after his house was destroyed by fire two years ago. He now lives in a high-rise condominium across from Millennium Park in Chicago, according to the newspaper.
Rakestraw would be the fifth board member to resign from the board at the beleaguered suburban rail agency within the past three weeks, leaving only six — the minimum the board needs to conduct business.
The series of resignations began shortly after former Metra chief executive Alex Clifford leveled patronage allegations last month against some board members, including former chairman Brad O’Halloran, of Orland Park.
Clifford claimed he was forced out of his job after refusing to comply with requests by House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) regarding personnel and contracts.
The board created a firestorm of controversy when it agreed to give Clifford a lucrative severance package, that could reach $718,000, which one board member called “hush money” due to a confidentiality clause tied to the deal.
The uproar over the severance agreement led the Illinois House Mass Transit Committee and the Regional Transportation Authority to hold hearings on the deal, which resulted in Clifford being able to disclose a memo he had issued, outlining his allegations.
The memo identified O’Halloran and Larry Huggins as the board members who most pressured him to make politically based decisions. O’Halloran and Huggins are among the six members who have resigned.