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Metra's board voted to hire a chief audit officer to provide additional oversight of the agency's executive director, board spending and various departments, including human resources and procurement.The action is part of the board's efforts to set a new direction, review and reorganize staff needs, and strengthen and update corporate governance, transparency, accountability and reporting protocols, Metra officials said in a press release.The CAO and audit staff will be Metra employees and subject to all agency rules, policies and procedures. The staff will include two attorneys and a senior-level transportation professional who will monitory agency operations and best practices of the transit-rail industry, Metra officials said.The CAO also will be responsible for developing and implementing an annual audit plan and reviews of the executive director and agency departments."We are strongly committed to having a critical check and balance system in our business practices," said Metra Acting Chairman Jack Partelow. "We believe having transparent governance is essential to rebuilding the public's trust and confidence in Metra."Metra Executive Director Don Orseno, who was officially named to the post last week, said he welcomed the decision to hire a CAO."Our agency has been through a lot in the last few years and we need to continue to build rapport with our customers and respect in the rail industry," he said.Last year, Alex Clifford stepped down as executive director after raising concerns about alleged patronage practices at the agency.
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