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Lombard man, applicant speaks out against Cronin's Metra board appointment

LOMBARD – A longtime Metra rider and applicant for the DuPage County seat on the train system's Board of Directors is speaking out against DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin's decision to appoint John Zediker, a Naperville man and former County Board member.

Mike Corso of Lombard has been riding the Metra trains for 27 years to commute to his downtown Chicago job, and in early August he submitted an application to Cronin, hoping to be selected to serve on the Metra board. He said he found out he'd been denied for the position in a newspaper article announcing Zediker's pending appointment that he read on the Metra train on his ride to work. Now, he's speaking out against the process.

"The guy's not even a Metra rider, how could he be qualified to sit on the Metra board?" Corso said. "It's turned into a patronage system and it should only be for Metra riders."

Corso has lived in Lombard for 18 years and currently serves on the Village Board's Transportation and Safety Committee. He said it should be mandatory for the Metra board members to be regular train riders and that the board should have representation from every train line, rather than counties. He also offered to waive the salary for board members.

"I told them I would do it for free and waive the $15,000 salary," he said. "That's how passionate I am."

Corso said he submitted his application letter to Cronin on Aug. 5 and it was followed by a letter of recommendation from Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio on Aug. 8, but Corso said he never received a reply from the chairman.

Cronin said he received more than 30 applications for the position and selected Zediker with the belief that he could address the ethical and practical challenges facing the train system.

"Until one of these guys sits through a three-hour delay in the morning or a three-hour delay in the afternoon, which is worse, when you're waiting to see your family and Metra is holding you hostage, they shouldn't be on the board," Corso said.

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