In light of the mounting criticism regarding the mass transit system in northeastern Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday appointed a 15-member task force that hopes to improve service as well as address the issues involving fraud, waste, and abuse that have plagued the system.
Quinn’s decision to appoint the panel became even more heightened Thursday in the wake of yet another resignation from the Metra Board, this time by Stanley Rakestraw, which leaves the once 11-member board with just a minimum quorum of six.
The new transit task force includes local representatives from Aurora as well as Naperville’s Sonya Walwyn, who is a vice president of Duff & Phelps LLC, a global financial advisory and investment banking firm. Walwyn has more than 25 years of experience assisting clients in maximizing their overall savings and business efficiency.
While Walwyn was not available for comment Friday, Aurora’s Adrienne M. Holloway, an assistant professor of political science at DePaul University’s School of Public Service, spoke about her recent appointment.
“I learned about the appointment Monday when I was in a meeting when I was called by a representative of the Governor’s Office,” Holloway said. “I was asked if I was interested, and I was honored by the request. I feel the commission is charged with an important job for the state.”
Holloway said she believed she was “tabbed for the appointment” as a result of her work with other agencies in Aurora, making her “a good representative of the city.”
“I represent the ‘research’ part of things which I think is part of the reason I was selected,” she said. “As far as the commission goes, I feel we’re open to things and that we first need to get our ducks on order. We need to know that the employees of the system are comfortable and we need to gain some insight into what the system entails, who it is serving. There are a variety of issues confronting Pace, Metra, and the CTA.”
In terms of its goals, Holloway said it is important for the commission to identify “what the authorities of each group are responsible for” and to restore “efficient and effective operation” and make things more streamlined.
“Our priorities are to establish an oversight of the agencies, make service improvements, and to provide streamlining,” she said. “We have to make our recommendations by this October in preparation for veto sessions when line items and cuts are made.”
Holloway, 44, has more than 10 years of experience in the housing and community development industries. She received her doctorate from Northern Illinois University, a master’s degree in public administration from Baruch College, City University of New York, and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fordham University. Holloway also serves on the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Board.