Gov. Pat Quinn's administration says there should be no doubt about the qualifications of a former Metra transit employee hired by the state after a referral by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Central Management Services spokesman Mike Claffey says Patrick Ward worked for 25 years in Chicago's personnel department and has a master's degree with an emphasis in labor relations.
Gov. Pat Quinn has appointed a 15-member independent panel including former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate fraud and overhaul Chicago-area public transportation. The move follows allegations of political hiring at Metra and calls for change at its overseeing board, the Regional Transportation Authority. The Chicago Democrat issued an executive order Thursday creating the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force. Quinn previewed the idea last week.
A former California transit executive tapped to clean up Chicago's scandal-tarnished Metra commuter rail agency says he was pushed out for doing exactly that and resisting pressure from Illinois politicians.
Alex Clifford was allowed to speak publicly for the first time Wednesday about his lucrative buyout agreement, which critics have called hush money and a waste of taxpayer funds.
A memo by the former CEO of the Metra commuter rail service contends that Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan lobbied not only for a pay raise for an associate at the agency, but also sought employment for another person.
The memo by Alex Clifford was cited Thursday at a contentious legislative committee hearing on Clifford's resignation and a $718,000 separation agreement.
Clifford says in the memo that he was told before his ouster that he had damaged Metra and its future funding "by my refusal to accede to Speaker Madigan's requests."