Metra Executive Director Phil Pagano accused of giving himself unauthorized $56,000 bonus

Executive Director Phil Pagano’s alleged bonus came at a time of spending cuts, pay freezes and fare hikes

Metra’s Board of Directors will hold a special meeting Friday to discuss hiring legal counsel to look into reports that the agency’s director last year gave himself an unauthorized bonus.

Chairman Carole Doris didn’t offer specifics, but Crain’s Chicago Business reporter Greg Hinz reported Wednesday that he’s been asking the agency “for weeks” about a tip that Executive Director Phil Pagano gave himself a little gift to the tune of $56,000.

Pagano, who has run the agency for 20 years, is paid $269,625 to run the commuter rail service. Metra employees don’t get bonuses, spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said.

The alleged bonus came as Metra was preparing to pass a 2010 budget that eventually included spending cuts, a staff pay freeze and some fare hikes, Hinz noted.

As part of Doris’ review, she asked Pagano to suspend his duties with the agency. He has complied, Pardonnet said.

“I can assure our riders, Illinois taxpayers, and our state and local government partners that the review will be completed expeditiously, and that we will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the integrity and fiscal responsibility of Metra,” Doris said in a statement.

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12 Responses to "Metra Executive Director Phil Pagano accused of giving himself unauthorized $56,000 bonus"

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  3. INNOCENT1 says:


  4. Former Metra employee says:

    Btw, I was let go because Gail Washington made up some horrific stories about me, as she did about my boss and several other coworkers.

  5. Former Metra employee says:

    I happened to see this while surfing the web. The waytofly is correct, Metra needs to get rid of the trash. I lost my job (and so did my boss) because of the corruption. To name one piece of scum in particular, Gail Washington is the most corrupt HR person I’ve ever met. She only got her job through her church, Salem Baptist, and guess who the minister is? Senator James Meeks! Coincidence? I think not. Just anyone decent what they think of HR or people like Pagano and it won’t be nice. One long time employee once said to me “I am a long time railroad person and Metra is not run like one”.

    I’d be interesting in chatting with anyone off this site. If interested I can post my email. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you are actually people I knew and were among the decent people there. My department were all great people who got screwed over by HR and the higher ups, including my boss.

  6. Thewaytofly says:

    Good for him fat looser thief, caused a long delay employees would have been written up and put up for a investigation for a delay. Lets look at those people under him, this could have not been done by one person there are more people involved.

    I feel sorry for the engineer and what he has to thur his 2 daughters and grandchildren nice legacy to leve them but I am sure the hidden piles of cash and his huge penssion will help unload the burden from them.

    Let get all the trash out of METRA — Richard Soukup,Marty Ryan, Mark Simos,Gail Washington, just to name a few. Who do you think ok’s these contracts from Mechanical department.

    All news can talk about is his 20 years of service, there are people with 30 and 35 years of service that go unnoticed and a crook is a crook no matter how you cut it he was guilty and new he was going down and took the coward way out ….

  7. Chrisa Hawk says:


    I am a former Metra employee and I totally agree that he took the selfish way out. Metra is issuing statements stating how sorry and devastated they are at the loss…..I haven’t seen one single statement about that Engineer of the train he jumped in front of. That Engineer will have to live with those images….NOT PHIL PAGANO! I tried in 2005 to inform EEO of Chicago how underhanded some of Metra’s practices are and some of their officials…..but did they want to listen to me….NO! NOW MAYBE SOMEONE WILL STAND UP TAKE A LONG HARD LOOK AND LISTEN! I was let go from Metra with NO PRIORS….NOT ONE WRITE UP, WARNING ETC,….and the jist of it…..some top Metra officials knew what was going on in my department…but I guess they figured WHATEVER and terminated me anyway! My thoughts and prayers go out to the Engineer’s family……I pray that he heals from this tragedy that unfolded in front of his very eyes and that God blesses him with the strength to over come this! And I also wonder why a man would commit suicide over $56,000.00 when he was making nearly $300,000 grand a year…..makes you stop and wonder if it’s just $56,000.00 (yea right)! I wish someone would call me………I could give them 11 years worth of information from 1994 through 2005! I said when they let me go …”what goes around comes around”. Yes it’s sad that he took this selfish way out……because it is pure selfish, but again my prayers are with the family of that Engineer and I hope that whoever is in charge of this investigation dig deep into Metra…..there is so much there to uncover….BELIEVE ME!

  8. Buzz Stop says:

    Pacman Phil has come a long way since his early RTA days. Besides being the highest paid public transit executive in the Chicagoland area and having the Metra Board not match his 401K contribution but contribute the full maximum allowable annual 401K amount … he still wants/needs more? Metra staff under his reign have seen numerous salary freezes over the years but the top dogs seemed to always get theirs as well as some substantial bonuses/salary bumps in the past.. Maybe he’s still upset that the state legislature forced his hand last year to allow Metra customers the ability to purchase their fare instruments via credit cards.

  9. The waytofly says:

    This METRA is a joke maybe they should check they way they treat employees, how they use fear, intimidation to keep people in check, is there no place that is crooked cheats liars maybe they should check all upper management that works under this guy his underlings…..

  10. The waytofly says:

    Go get them Doris

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