Metra’s High Salaries

“Factoring (in retirement and health benefits), 524 employees — 18.4 percent of the rail agency’s 2,848-member work force — made $100,000 or more in total compensation last year,” Chicago Sun Times reporters Chris Fusco, Mary Wisniewski and Art Golab report today.

Other findings include

$20 million in overtime last year, about 11 percent of payroll

I’d guess that the reporters started looking at Metra salaries because of what was found about the overpayment of former Executive Director Phil Pagano, who chose to kill himself during the investigation by stepping in front a commuter train from McHenry at Hillside Road in Crystal Lake.

The Feds and Cook State’s Attorney are looking, as McHenry County Blog reported June 8th.

I decided to search the Illinois State Board of Elections web site to see if any of the 140 folks listed in the Sun-Times articles made political contributions.

There wasn’t much to be found and, because it’s Saturday, no way to check if the names on the State Board’s web site match the employees. I found six probables, including a couple who contributed to George Ryan when he was Secretary of State. I figure they were probably employees who got jobs at Metra.

A couple of the names gave money to Democratic candidates for Cook County judge.

A low level probably union employee with a fairly common name was a regular contributor to a Chicago alderman. He was the only one who had made a recent contribution.

Conclusion:  high salaries, but political payoffs were not necessary to get them.

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