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Monday morning, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced his intention to appoint Martin J. Oberman to the Metra Board of Directors. Mr. Oberman has spent over forty years in civic service, fighting to bring greater accountability and reform to aspects of municipal and state government. Notably, he served the City of Chicago and the residents of the 43rd Ward as an alderman from 1975 to 1987.
“Marty Oberman has been a leader for reform and accountability in government and a vigilant protector of taxpayer interests throughout his lifetime of service to Chicago and Illinois,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The Metra board needs a new chapter and a fresh start. Marty’s meaningful career and unique talents will best serve the transportation priorities of Chicago’s residents and I am proud to have him serve Chicago. He will be a fantastic addition to the board.”
Oberman began his public service as the first General Counsel for the Illinois Racing Board, which conducted stringent oversight of the horse racing industry in Illinois. Mr. Oberman’s progressive leadership also led to him being named Chairman of the Mayoral Commission of Labor and Management, which went on to develop the municipal employee collective bargaining system. Additionally he served as the Chairman of the Committee on Public Records and Information. During his long career of public service he has also served as chairman of the Shoreline Protection commission during Harold Washington administration, and, more recently, he served on Mayor Emanuel’s Midway Airport Advisory Panel.
“I am excited to take on this challenge to bring new accountability, oversight and transparency to Metra,” Oberman said. “This critical public transit system desperately needs to overcome years of scandal and focus on its role as a key transportation link for the city and the region.”
Oberman’s appointment will be introduced Chicago City Council on Wednesday Sept 11. His appointment is effective immediately upon council approval.
The Metra Board of Directors serve as the leadership for one of the largest commuter rail systems in the nation, providing more than 300,000 passenger trips a day and controlling a budget of nearly $868 million. Oberman will forgo the $15,000 stipend that Metra offers its board membership.
Oberman’s primary legal practice is complex civil litigation and class action. He was a partner at Gould and Ratner, and previously worked at Leibman, Williams Bennett, Baird and Minow. Oberman served as President of the Chicago Council of Lawyers. He has a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin, graduating Order of the Coif and serving as Note Editor of the Law Review. He has a B.A. from Yale University.
Upon approval, Oberman’s term will last until June 30, 2016.