Reform bill aims to tighten transit agency scrutiny

Clifford clause addresses severance controversy

Spurred by the uproar over the potential $871,000 severance payout awarded last summer to ousted Metra CEO Alex Clifford, state lawmakers have approved a measure requiring tighter scrutiny over future payouts for transit agency employees.

The so-called Clifford clause is part of a broader bill containing several reforms intended to strengthen oversight of the CTA, Metra and Pace and provide more accountability of those agencies, according to legislators.

 The legislation would give more teeth to the Regional Transportation Authority, which critics contend lacks enough power to ride herd over the agencies.

State Rep. Michael Tryon, R-Crystal Lake, a chief co-sponsor, said the bill is needed to "rebuild the trust" of transit users and taxpayers dismayed by the Clifford episode. Gov. Pat Quinn supports the measure, known as Senate Bill 3056, and intends to sign it, a spokesman said. Read the rest of the story by the Chicago Tribune's Richard Wronski.