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Hobson gets nod to represent county on RTA Board

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 12:13 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 11:38 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – With little fanfare and no discussion, the McHenry County Board chose its next representative on the Regional Transportation Authority Board.

County Board members voted Tuesday morning, 22-0, to appoint Lakewood businessman Blake Hobson to the post effective Jan. 1. He will replace longtime GOP insider Al Jourdan, whose five-year term expired in April but has continued to serve until a replacement was named.

Hobson, who has served on the County Board, Lakewood Village and Nunda Township boards, co-owns Huntley-based manufacturing company Image Industries. He beat out nine other applicants for the $25,000-a-year job.

The 16-member RTA Board has financial oversight of the three Chicago mass-transit boards of Metra, Pace and the Chicago Transit Authority.

Jourdan was appointed as the county’s RTA representative in 2008. He spent 30 years as McHenry County Republican Party chairman between 1968 and 1998, and about three of those years as state chairman.

Jourdan’s RTA term expired in April, but the appointment process has been delayed twice because of political turmoil at the mass-transit agencies.

Chicago’s mass-transit agencies have come under serious scrutiny in recent years, primarily over controversy and allegations of corruption and mismanagement at Metra, but also because of resignations at the RTA Board and whether it was negligent in its handling of the most recent Metra scandal involving the resignation of its previous chief executive. The CTA has come under fire over the numerous glitches that have plagued the rollout of the new Ventra fare card system.

The County Board next year also will have to find a new representative for the Metra Board – current representative Jack Schaffer said he will not seek reappointment to another four-year term.

Hobson’s appointment was one of nine made Tuesday to five boards and commissions. County Board members also appointed newcomer Diane Wasilk and incumbent Connee Meschini to the McHenry County Mental Health Board, which has undergone significant change in the wake of a County Board committee shakeup and ongoing fiscal woes.

What it means

The McHenry County Board voted Tuesday, 22-0, to appoint Blake Hobson as the county’s representative on the Regional Transportation Authority Board.

County Board members Sandra Fay Salgado, R-McHenry, and Chairwoman Tina Hill, R-Woodstock, were absent.

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