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Metra Cancels Meeting To Appoint Investigator

UPDATED: 7/22/2013 6:44 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A special Metra board meeting to vote on whether to launch an independent investigation into accusations raised by the agency’s former director has been canceled.

Metra Cancels Vote

The board was expected to vote on whether to hire former U.S. Attorney Patrick Collins to look into allegations made by former Executive Director Alex Clifford.

The agency said there is a potential, but unspecified, conflict with the Collins appointment and that it plans to find a new investigator for the job. Collins is a partner with the law firm Perkins Coie.

“I am personally disappointed that Patrick Collins cannot undertake this endeavor,”
Metra Chairman Brad O’Halloran said. “I felt he would have done an excellent job.”

Clifford said the transit agency forced him out of his job because of political pressure.

Clifford said he got in trouble because he refused to give a pay raise to a Metra employee, who was also a political worker for House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Madigan says he did nothing improper.

Some RTA board members have questioned Clifford’s $700,000 severance package.

Critics say it’s tantamount to “hush money” to buy his silence about the inside workings at Metra.

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