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Metra's board was given its marching orders Wednesday by the Regional Transportation Authority after an audit determined that the severance given to outgoing Metra CEO Alex Clifford was not financially prudent. The RTA ordered the Metra board to conduct a review.
The RTA board met Wednesday to discuss the audit, which heavily criticized Metra for giving Clifford a $718,000 package, with the actual figure being closer to $871,000.
One of the reasons Metra board officials had given for the high severance package was the possibility that Clifford could sue, resulting in millions of dollars in legal fees, but the RTA audit discovered that Metra had an insurance policy that would have covered the costs up to $10 million. Metra purchased the policy for $98,000 with a $150,000 deductible.
RTA officials ordered Metra to review its insurance and other policies and report back in 30 days, along with implementing procedures to prevent it from happening in the future.
The Metra board was criticized for not including more steps and documentation during the process of letting Clifford go. No formal performance plan was ever issued for Clifford, giving the impression that the executive director was performing adequately, RTA officials said.
The RTA audit also mentions numerous allegations of ethics lapses that were not investigated.
Five Metra board members have resigned following the negative outcry when Clifford's severance package was revealed to the public.