Photo courtesy Douglas Rahden
The costs associated with Chicago Metra
’s settlement with former Executive Director/CEO Alex Clifford last year
totaled about $1.3 million, according to a final accounting that was requested
by Metra Board Chairman Martin Oberman and released by Metra on Thursday.
The costs include $652,363 to be paid to Clifford in salary, accrued time off, medical insurance, relocation expenses and attorneys’ fees, and $662,494 that was paid to outside attorneys to defend Metra and assist with investigations relating to the matter.
As the accounting establishes, the largest proportion of attorneys’ fees was for outside counsel retained under a previous Metra board chairman. Those outside counsel services were effectively discontinued by the acting board chairman who preceded Oberman, and Oberman discontinued the practice permanently.
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Oberman requested the accounting and its disclosure to prevent a recurrence of the issues that led to the Clifford settlement and to reinforce Metra’s commitment to transparency.
“Since February, Metra has been led by a new board and new Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno, and we are committed to operating openly and honestly while moving this agency forward in service of commuters throughout Chicagoland,” Oberman said. “Not only are we releasing this full accounting of Metra’s costs relating to Mr. Clifford’s departure, but we’re applying what we’ve learned from this process to make critical changes that address issues that arose during this matter.”