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Former Kane Board Chair McCoy resigns from Metra board

Published: Friday, July 19, 2013 5:06 p.m. CST • Updated: Saturday, July 20, 2013 8:28 a.m. CST

GENEVA – A former Kane County Board chairman who represents the county on Metra's board of directors has resigned.

Mike McCoy submitted a resignation letter to Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen on Friday, effectively ending his two-year stint on the commuter rail agency's board.

In the letter, McCoy said he did not "have the time or desire to continue serving."

He referenced the unfolding controversy within Metra surrounding the resignation of former Metra CEO Alex Clifford.

McCoy, who voted to approve a controversial $718,000 severance package, said it was approved to prevent Clifford from filing a threatened lawsuit against Metra.

Clifford has alleged he was pressured by Illinois politicians, including Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, to either hire politically connected people or raise the pay of others.

Metra's board chairman announced Friday that he wants to hire Patrick Collins, a former assistant U.S. attorney, to investigate the agency.

In his letter, McCoy said he voted in favor of the Clifford severance package because he did not believe Clifford was capable of leading Metra any longer; he believed Metra would spend more money defending itself against Clifford's lawsuit; and he believed the threatened lawsuit distracted the agency from "the more important business of running a commuter railroad."

He noted also that he had pushed for the release of an April 3 memo in which Clifford outlined his allegations. McCoy, of Aurora, was appointed to the Metra board in 2011 by then-Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay.

Previously, McCoy had served as chairman of the Kane County Board from 1996-2004.

Lauzen said he accepted McCoy's resignation.

"I understand how important a good reputation is," Lauzen said. "I respect his decision and his rationale behind it, and I appreciate his service."

Kane County Board member Drew Frasz, R-Elburn, who serves as chairman of the county's transportation committee, said he never doubted McCoy's integrity.

"In this state, unfortunately, things can get so down and dirty, that good people, like Mike, get driven away," Frasz said.

Lauzen said he intended to launch a process quickly to replace McCoy. But he said he does not envy the job ahead of anyone on the Metra board.

"They have a really, really tough problem to solve," Lauzen said.

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