This morning the Metra Board of Directors held an emergency meeting to discuss hiring outside legal counsel to initiate an inquiry into reports of potential irregularities allegedly involving Metra’s Executive Director Phil Pagano.
The Board of Directors ratified a contract to hire James G. Sotos and his law firm of Sotos & Associates to conduct an independent investigation. The investigation will center on, but not be limited to, the alleged unauthorized money paid to Mr. Pagano and whether policies and procedures were violated.
We cannot ignore Mr. Pagano’s distinguished 20 years of service and the accomplishments of Metra under his leadership, but the allegation is a very serious matter. Under legal advisement, we as a board have decided to put Mr. Pagano on paid administrative leave of absence during this investigation.
Bill Tupper, Deputy Executive Director-Operations, has been named acting Executive Director. Mr. Tupper joined Metra in 1982 and two years later was appointed to Assistant Chief Engineer. In 1990 Mr. Tupper was appointed Metra’s Chief Engineer, a position he held for sixteen years. In 2006 he was appointed Metra’s Chief Operations Officer and just last year Mr. Tupper was appointed Deputy Executive Director.
Mr. Tupper’s invaluable experience in both the operational and administrative areas of Metra ensures that Metra business will continue uninterrupted. Our 300,000 daily passengers will not notice a difference in our quality of service.
Because of today’s developments, the Board of Directors has initiated a top-to-bottom review of Metra’s financial policies and procedures, focusing on the compensation and benefits of all non-contract employees, including the Executive Director. The Board will form this committee at the next regular meeting on May 14.