The Cook County Board of Commissioners chose Reaves from a field of seven candidates who vied for the vacant seat representing south suburban District 3.
Reaves was one of four appointed to seats resigned during Metra's controversy-plagued summer. Twenty candidates pursued the spots—13 for the north suburban district, seven for the south. South suburban District 3 encompasses the townships of Proviso, Riverside, Berwyn, Cicero, Lyons, Stickney, Lemont, Palos and Orland.
"I was asked to consider interviewing for the seat, and I believe my experience as mayor of Lemont has given me a great deal of experience dealing with transportation issues," Reaves previously told Patch.
"I've always had a passion for expanding train service along the Heritage Corridor Line."
Lemont is one of six communities on Metra's Heritage Corridor Line, which runs from Joliet to Chicago. Reaves has long advocated for increased service on the line, as well as the creation of a "quiet zone" to improve safety and reduce disturbances.
His transportation-focused contributions to the Southwest Conference of Mayors, along with work to improve the Heritage Corridor line, will assist in his role as director. Reaves will forgo his salary as mayor but will continue serving the position. Metra directors receive an annual salary of $15,000, according to Cook County website.
"I have a lot of work I need to do, to get up to speed with where Metra's at," Reaves said.
Six of Metra's board members resigned over the summer, when the board became embroiled in a payout scandal involving former CEO Alex Clifford. After receiving an $871,000 severance package, Clifford accused board directors of political patronage and misconduct.
The newly replenished 11-member board met Oct. 18 and dug into budgetary issues. With a proposed budget of $935.9 million for 2014, officials hope prices will stabilize. Roughly $207.3 million is allotted for capital projects, and $728.6 million for operating costs—60 percent of which is for salaries, the Daily Herald reports. An increase in sales tax revenues should help offset a decline in ridership, Chief Financial Officer Tom Farmer said.
Many roles within Metra are currently filled by interim staff, Reaves said—an issue the board needs to address immediately.
"The board's first priority is to get people in full-time positions," he said. "Then, we work to take Metra to the next level—increase ridership and service."