Costs linked to former Metra CEO's departure cost rail agency $1.3 million

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CHICAGO — The Chicago area's Metra commuter rail agency has released accounting details showing the departure of its former chief executive cost taxpayers more than $1.3 million.

Just over half of that went to pay outside attorneys to defend Metra against allegations of political patronage that emerged during the matter.

Former CEO Alex Clifford alleged he was forced out of the job last year for resisting outside political pressure in hiring and other personnel and contract matters.

The new leadership at Metra since then has put in place ethics reforms aimed at ensuring hiring decisions are free of political interference.

New board Chairman Martin Oberman said Thursday he made the settlement costs public to reinforce the agency's commitment to transparency.

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