Metra board elects Romayne C. Brown as next chair

First African-American woman to lead board will take over position on Nov. 1.
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Romayne C. Brown

Romayne C. Brown, who represents Cook County, Ill., has been elected as the next chair of the Metra Board of Directors, and will become the first African-American woman to lead the board.

Brown, who was unanimously elected on Wednesday, will take over the position on Nov. 1 from Norman Carlson, who will remain as vice-chair. Under the board’s bylaws, the chair position rotates every four years between Cook County, which includes Chicago, and the outlying “collar” counties. Carlson represented Lake County, along the north shore of Lake Michigan.

“I am honored that my fellow directors have chosen me to lead them during the most difficult time in Metra’s history,” Brown said in a press release. “We have many challenges ahead due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I look forward to working with the Board and Metra staff to meet those challenges and work towards creating a better Metra.”

Brown is a career transit professional, having started with the Chicago Transit Authority in 1978 as a conductor and working her way through the ranks, eventually becoming vice president of rail operations before leaving the agency in 2010. In that position, she oversaw a $1.3 billion budget and administered policies, programs, and procedures to serve 550,000 rail customers a day. She was appointed to Metra’s board in 2013 and elected as vice chair in October 2016.

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