Tryon Asks Madigan for Mass Transit Meeting New Week to Hear Clifford

A press release from State Rep. Mike Tryon to House Speaker Mike Madigan:

Rep. Mike Tryon Sends Second Request for Mass Transit Committee Meeting

Tryon Asks House Speaker Mike Madigan to Schedule Meeting to Hear Testimony from Ousted Metra CEO Alex Clifford

CRYSTAL LAKE…..In an attempt to keep an investigation into recent allegations against Metra board members and some state legislators alive, State Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) has sent a second letter to formally request that the State’s Mass Transit Committee meet to interview and hear testimony from former Metra CEO Alex Clifford.

Alex Clifford with his attorney Michael Shakman, the premier patronage fighter in the Chicago area.

Alex Clifford with his attorney Michael Shakman, the premier patronage fighter in the Chicago area.

In April, Clifford sent a lengthy memorandum to the Metra Board members. In the memo he claimed he was pressured by a few board members and two legislators to make politically-motivated hiring and contract decisions, and when he refused he was told his actions would reflect poorly on his performance review.

The memo was made public in July, as the Metra board considered a $719,000 separation package for Clifford, and as the House’ Mass Transit Committee learned of the lucrative offer.

An initial letter requesting a hearing was sent last week to Mass Transit Committee Chairwoman Deborah Mell, but when it was announced yesterday that she was named as the successor to her retiring father’s seat on the Chicago City Council, Tryon decided to take his request straight to House Speaker Mike Madigan.

“The letter sent today should serve as a reaffirmation by the minority party members on the Mass Transit Committee that we are determined to get to the bottom of the allegations made in Clifford’s eight-page memorandum,” said Tryon, the ranking Republican on the committee.

“Because Representative Mell will most likely be leaving her post as Transit Committee Chair, I want to make sure this important issue does not fall through the cracks.”

According to Tryon, the purpose of the meeting would be to have Clifford explain the content and allegations made in the memo and reveal any conversations or communications he had with Metra board members or with legislators that could be perceived as in violation of State ethics laws or other related statutes.

“The State of Illinois invests hundreds of millions in taxpayer funding for the operation of the Metra system, and as legislators we have a responsibility to ensure there is financial and ethical accountability,” Tryon said.

“It is imperative that we restore the public trust by thoroughly investigating these Metra allegations, and it is my hope that Speaker Madigan agrees and convenes the committee without delay on Representative Mell’s behalf.”

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