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2/28/2011



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Metra CEO Clifford institutes policy changes in light of consultants' reports


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Metra Chief Executive Officer Alex Clifford recently informed the agency's board that he has begun implementing a series of policy changes that stemmed from recommendations in two consulting firms’ reports.

Last year, Metra's board hired Blackman Kallick, an accounting and financial risk management firm, to perform a risk assessment and internal controls analysis of the agency. The board also hired law enforcement firm Hillard Heintze, which has been serving as Metra's inspector general since May 2010. The agency received reports from both firms earlier this month.

Clifford opted to make several immediate changes, such as:

• Requiring all "leniency reinstatements" of dismissed workers be reviewed and approved by the CEO;

• Terminating the practice of "exploratory interviews," and requiring Metra to adopt hiring and promotion practices that support transparency;

• Requiring managers to regularly review timekeeping entries and review overtime reports;

• Beginning development of a request for proposals for a comprehensive, noncontract classification and compensation study; and

• Asking employees for suggestions on cost savings and efficiencies.

Clifford also plans to review and update Metra's strategic/capital plan, including assessing the needs across the six-county region, reviewing the current project scoring systems, assigning updated values to projects, and identifying high-priority projects and funding strategies.









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