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Metra Chief Executive Officer Alex Clifford resigned his post late last week after negotiating a buyout agreement with the agency's board, according to Chicago news media reports.With eight months left on his contract, Clifford leaves Metra with a potential payout of $740,000, the Chicago Tribune reported."The board believes it's critical that Metra move in a different direction, one built on finding a new consensus in Springfield and Washington, [and] develop new resources to serve our taxpayers and communities," said Metra Chairman Brad O'Halloran, according to the Tribune's report.In February 2011, Metra's board hired Clifford, a Los Angeles native, after a 10-month national search for a new leader to lead the agency after the scandal and suicide of its former executive, Phil Pagano. Prior to joining the Chicago agency, Clifford was the executive officer for high-speed rail at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which he served in various capacities for 10 years.