Metra Puts $1.3M Pricetag On Former CEO Clifford’s Departure
CHICAGO (CBS) — Metra has released a list of the money it has paid out in connection with the controversial departure of former CEO Alex Clifford, along with a number of reforms it has enacted as a result.
WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports Metra’s financial accounting of former CEO Alex Clifford’s departure last year includes more than $650,000 paid to Clifford in salary, accrued time off, health insurance, relocation expenses, and attorneys’ fees – all related to a severance package that was worth up to $718,000.
Metra also paid more than $660,000 to outside attorneys to defend the agency against Clifford’s allegations that he was forced out because he resisted political patronage request from House Speaker Michael Madigan and others; and to assist Metra with investigations of those claims.
The agency said the bulk of the fees paid to outside attorneys was for services retained by previous chairs of the board, before Martin Oberman was elected last fall. According to Metra, interim board chairman Jack Partelow ended most of those services before Oberman took office, and Oberman halted them altogether.
Metra said the Clifford case not only produced large bills, but led to reforms – including rules that any political pressure to hire or promote employees must be logged, and a requirement that hiring managers certify they did not hire job applicants for political purposes.
New rules also require the Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees Metra’s budget, to be notified of any upcoming severance deals.