State Representative requests special meeting to address former Metra Director's allegations
SPRINGFIELD-- State Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake), who serves as the Republican Spokesperson on the State’s Mass Transit Committee, has requested a committee hearing to get to the bottom of allegations made by former Metra Executive Director Alex Clifford that he was pressured by some Metra Directors and Illinois legislators to make politically-motivated hiring and contract decisions, and then offered a $749,000 separation agreement in exchange for leaving Metra and keeping mum on the matter.
Tryon’s request was made in response to the Clifford memorandum, which alleges impropriety by some Metra directors and by Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan, and also by the unusually large sum that was part of Clifford’s separation agreement with Metra. Tryon said the request was also made because of testimony provided last week by Metra Director Jack Schaffer, who voted against the separation agreement, saying it included “hush money.”
In a letter sent to Mass Transit Committee Chair Deborah Mell, Tryon said the purpose of the hearing would be to bring Clifford before the board to address the content of the eight-page memorandum he sent to the Metra Board of Directors on April 3. “This was an explosive memo that could have far-reaching implications,” said Tryon. “I think it is imperative that we bring Mr. Clifford in so he can explain the content of that memorandum and let the members of the committee know about any conversations or communications he had with Metra board members or legislators in the General Assembly that could be perceived as in violation of State ethics laws or other statutes.”
Tryon went on in the letter to say the committee has a responsibility to restore the public trust by pursuing an inquiry into allegations by Clifford and the purpose for the lucrative severance package. “We need to get to the bottom of this, and if Mr. Clifford refuses our invitation to appear, I have asked that the Mass Transit Committee, in cooperation with Speaker Madigan, use subpoena powers pursuant to House Rule 23 to compel him to appear before the committee.”