CHICAGO (CBS) — A government watchdog group wants the Regional Transportation Authority to look into why former Metra executive director got a severance package worth up to $750,000 when he stepped down, even though he apparently wasn’t legally entitled to any severance pay.
WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports Better Government Association CEO Andy Shaw said buyout Metra board members approved for Alex Clifford as he resigned as executive director sounds more like hush money than severance.
“Clifford apparently resisted the efforts of some Metra board members to hire their friends and cronies, and that obviously didn’t sit well with them, and perhaps he is being eased out of town with a golden parachute so that he doesn’t raise his voice and talk anymore about that,” Shaw said.
According to the Sun-Times, experts said Clifford’s original contract with Metra said he’s not entitled to a severance package if he resigns.
However, in agreeing to accept Clifford’s resignation last week, the board agreed to a $442,000 severance package; including salary for the eight months left on his contract, six months of additional severance pay, and reimbursement for accrued sick and vacation time.
The deal also allows up to $78,0000 in moving expenses and more than $300,000 in additional pay if Clifford does not find a better paying job during a 12-month period starting in August 2015.
Shaw said he’s not calling for a federal criminal investigation, but he does want RTA – which oversees Metra, CTA and Pace — to look into the Clifford’s deal.