Just one month after raising fares an average of 5.8 percent, Metra’s board of directors Wednesday awarded a 9.7 percent pay hike to Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno based on what they termed his outstanding job performance.
Orseno’s annual salary rises to $317,500 from $289,500, retroactive to Oct. 1. It’s the second pay hike for Orseno in just over a year; he received a 10 percent increase in September 2015.
Metra board members said the higher salary was “market-based” in comparison with the railroad industry and that Orseno “exceeded performance expectations” in his annual review. Officials said Orseno also earns less than his counterparts at comparable public transit agencies on the East and West Coasts.
Metra Chairman Norman Carlson said Orseno tallies 60-65-hour workweeks, and cited Orseno’s 42-year railroad career, including early work as locomotive engineer, and the last 36 years at Metra.
“We are lucky to have him,” Carlson said.
By comparison, CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. is paid $239,112 a year, according to the Better Government Association’s public payroll database.
In addition to running Metra, Orseno has leadership positions with national public transportation and commuter rail organizations, Carlson said.
Orseno took charge of Metra in the wake of the board’s controversial ouster of former Executive Director Alex Clifford in 2013.
Fare increases that will take effect on February 1, 2017 include an additional 25 cents on one-way tickets; an additional $2.75 on 10-ride tickets; and an additional $11.75 on monthly passes.
Metra also announced that Uber would pay Metra $900,000 over three years to be the agency’s “official rideshare partner.”
In return, Metra riders will start seeing Uber ads pop up on various Metra sites, including posters at stations and on trains, on social media, and in the agency’s commuter newsletter.
Palmer will fill out the unexpired term of Lemont Village President Brian Reeves, who resigned in October. That term expires in June 2019.