Salary : $174,860.00 – $218,575.00

Job Description

Metra Commuter Rail System is a nationally recognized system serving the City of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs located in Cook, Lake, Kane, DuPage, McHenry and Will Counties. The system operates 242 stations on 11 rail lines and is the fourth busiest commuter rail system in the United States. Metra has 2,800 employees of which 2200 are represented by unions. The annual budget is $1.87 billion. Chicago has always been the railroad center of the nation. In 1974, voters in the six county Chicago area created the Regional Transportation Authority. The RTA’s mission was to coordinate and assist public transportation and to serve as a conduit for state and federal subsidies needed to keep the system operational. The RTA was reorganized by the State of Illinois in 1983 and a commuter rail division was created to oversee commuter rail operations.

The Deputy Executive Director External Affairs serves as an effective communicator, strategic advisor, and planner to the CEO. The Deputy Executive Director External Affairs oversees special projects and key initiatives based on direction from the CEO and charged with solving complex issues demanding executive leadership. In addition, the Deputy Executive Director External Affairs is responsible for the agency’s Media, Marketing, Social Media, Printing, Customer Service, GPS, Community Relations, Government Affairs and Project Management Oversight.

Reporting to the Deputy Executive Director External Affairs, the Assistant DED External Affairs will function as a member of the executive leadership team overseeing multiple departments in the planning, coordination, implementation, administration, and operation of programs, services, and systems; assist with policy development and implementation; lead complex special projects; and fill in during the DED’s absence.

This position is covered by the “Revolving Door” prohibition within the State Officials and Employees Act (5 ILCS 430/5-45), which prohibits certain Metra employees (or their spouse or immediate family member) from accepting employment or compensation from a non-Metra employer for one year from the date of separation, if the employee was personally and substantially involved in the award of a contract of $25,000 or more to that non-Metra employer or if the employee was personally and substantially involved in the fiscal administration of a contract of $25,000 or more to that non-Metra employer.

The primary duties include: Exercise management responsibilities directly or through the delegation of responsibilities to assigned management staff; and assist with the establishment of long-range goals, objectives, organizational structure, and overall direction of assigned departments.

Lead in prioritizing resources and projects to ensure programs, projects, and grants are managed efficiently, effectively, and meet guidelines to maintain continued funding; analyze complex data and comprehensive reports detailing status, costs, and quality assurance; and provide direction on the resolution of problems and correction of inefficiencies.

Prepare and present proposed, amended, and eliminated programs, policies, and services to the executive leadership team. Act as liaison between internal departments, stakeholders, government agencies, and the private sector to develop collaborative relations, identify concerns, and ensure an integrated approach to providing service and fulfilling agency goals.

Formulate, affect, interpret, and implement agency-wide policies, practices, procedures, and plans that govern operations and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements in relation to quality, safety, and productivity standards; and monitor legislative developments or changes to evaluate overall impact.

Approve time off, coordinate staff schedules, fill vacancies as necessary, and ensure compliance with departmental and company policies and objectives. Decide/implement staffing decisions, performance evaluations, and performance improvement, disciplinary, and/or termination procedures. Make recommendations regarding hiring, performance evaluations, disciplinary and/or termination procedures.

Responsible for the safety objectives, goals, and program of the organization ensuring compliance with applicable safety rules and regulations.

Candidates can expect salary offers that range from the minimum to the mid-point of the salary range. Metra provides full pay ranges so candidate can consider their growth potential.

Metra is a railroad employer subject to the provisions of the Railroad Retirement Tax Act, not the Social Security Administration.


  1. Bachelor’s degree
  2. In addition to #1 above, must have 10 years of progressively responsible administrative or management experience, including five years at the senior leadership level.
  3. Must have five years of direct supervisory experience that includes day-to-day employee management, assigning tasks, providing guidance and training, monitoring performance, conflict management, budgeting, hiring, discipline and/or termination.
  4. Considerable knowledge of: the principles and practices of strategic planning, policy development, public and organizational administration, and program development and implementation.
    social, political, and environmental issues influencing transit programs. The principles and practices of budget preparation, administration, and management.
  5. Government operations and the legislative process at the federal, state, and local levels of government. Project management life cycle activities.
  6. Strong leadership and interpersonal skills with the ability to develop working relationships with government, community, and agency partners.
  7. Strong: written and verbal communication skills. Analytical and conceptual skills with the ability to think and plan strategically.
  8. A visionary leader with the ability to plan, manage, and deliver results.
  9. Ability to: work collaboratively with diverse constituencies and to effectively direct multi-dimensional responsibilities simultaneously. Provide attention to systems, program development, quality, fiscal management, and compliance to enhance culture, communication, and build consensus. Develop and lead strategies to support and advance cost-effective operations and on-time budget delivery.
  10. Prioritize conflicting needs in the implementation of initiatives and goals.
  11. Must be: able to operate a vehicle and be willing to travel within and outside Metra’s 6-county region. Available on-call 24-hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year, including weekends and holidays.


  1. Master’s degree.
  2. Experience in the government or the transportation industry.

Metra requires all new-hire employees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination prior to their first day of employment.

Please note: Regardless of any state laws that legalize marijuana, Metra prohibits applicants and employees’ use or possession of marijuana (or marijuana paraphernalia), or having detectable amounts of marijuana in their bodies, including synthetic and/or non-synthetic substances such as THC for any reason for preemployment screening purposes, while on duty, subject to duty, on Metra property, or in Metra work equipment and vehicles.

Metra is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. It is our policy to fill vacant positions with qualified candidates without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, gender identity, disability, or any protected categories, assuming an individual can perform the essential functions of the job with or without accommodation.

Additional Information

Metra offers exceptional benefits with lower than typical employee health insurance premium co-payments. In addition to optional 401(K) and 457 deferred compensation plans, Metra has a well-funded pension through the RTA that does not require employee contribution and a contributory pension plan through the Railroad Retirement Board; both vest after five years of employment.