RTA report says buyout of Metra CEO flawed - New York News

RTA report says buyout of Metra CEO flawed

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Tax payers picked up the tab for the ouster of the former Metra chief. But was it really your responsibility? Wednesday's RTA meeting shed some light on the situation.

Regional Transportation Authority documents indicate the Metra board's decision to give its former chief executive officer a $718,000 buyout was "flawed" and not "financially prudent."

An RTA report, released Tuesday, indicates the commuter rail agency had an insurance policy it could have relied on instead of agreeing to give taxpayer funds to Alex Clifford.

He resigned June 21, citing the pressure he was under to make political appointments.

So far the audit determined that Clifford's settlement agreement process was inadequate and not sufficiently documented. There was lack of justification for the generous post-employment package.

Metra officials said they gave Clifford the hefty severance money to avoid at least $2 million in legal fees from a protracted Clifford lawsuit.

The RTA contends the insurance policy could have covered a lawsuit beyond the first $150,000. It has a cap of $10 million.

RTA Chairman John Gates Jr. said Metra should review its insurance policy and, if possible, cancel Clifford's severance agreement.

The RTA said the audit is nearly complete. Information gathered has been analyzed and needs to be compiled into final form. The RTA expects the final work to be complete by the next RTA Board meeting on Sept. 13.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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