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Metra's costs associated with a settlement with its former executive director/chief executive officer last year totaled $1.3 million, according to a final accounting released by the agency yesterday.The accounting of the costs associated with the settlement between Metra and former Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Alex Clifford was requested by Metra Chairman Martin Oberman. The costs include $652,363 to be paid to Clifford in salary, accrued time off, medical insurance, relocation expenses and attorneys' fees, and $662,494 that was paid to outside attorneys to defend Metra and assist with investigations relating to the matter, agency officials said in a press release.The accounting indicates the largest proportion of attorneys' fees was for outside counsel retained under a previous Metra chairman. Those outside counsel services were discontinued by the acting chairman who preceded Oberman, and Oberman discontinued the practice permanently, Metra officials said."Since February, Metra has been led by a new board and new Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno, and we are committed to operating openly and honestly while moving this agency forward in service of commuters throughout Chicagoland," Oberman said.
In addition to releasing the cost accounting, Metra is making policy changes to address issues that arose during Clifford's controversial exit last year, such as more transparency in hiring procedures and the creation of a chief audit officer position, agency officials said