Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by Backshophoss
 
Sandia National Labs in ABQ have developed various sensors/sniffers for detecting Nuke and Bio-hazard materials along with the
Los Alamos National Labs since 9/11.
The sensors/sniffers are deployed at Airports and major Amtrak stations.
  by doepack
 
Wow, that's too bad. Though the fare increases were a bit painful (but necessary), it did seem to stem the flawed practice of shifting funds from the capital budget to the operating budget; something that the previous CEO (Pagano) apparently had no problem with. I also liked the increased transparency that began when he took over, and I hope the new CEO continues the trend...
  by Tadman
 
That is an obscene buyout. I usually defend CEO pay, but that's just nuts. It's about equal to the money Pagano stole and far more than Clifford's annual salary, which was something like $200-250k. So here we have the ugly exit of Pagano over stealing $400k+, and Clifford exits quietly and gets a $400k gift equal to almost double his salary?

I gotta get on the gravy train...
  by justalurker66
 
Tadman wrote:That is an obscene buyout. I usually defend CEO pay, but that's just nuts. It's about equal to the money Pagano stole and far more than Clifford's annual salary, which was something like $200-250k. So here we have the ugly exit of Pagano over stealing $400k+, and Clifford exits quietly and gets a $400k gift equal to almost double his salary?
It is about what it would cost for the rest of his contract plus a year's severance. The kicker is the additional $300k that Metra could pay if Clifford does not find the next job. Basically two more years pay beyond the initial contract. $742k for nothing more than he has already done.

That being said I assume that there are some protections in the contract for the agency. Probably protections that we the taxpayers do not want to see ... prohibitions on discussing his relationship with the dysfunctional board. In a way, it is hush money ... paid to protect the board. A board that felt they should be running Metra instead of the CEO they hired to run Metra for them.
Tadman wrote:I gotta get on the gravy train...
It would be nice, wouldn't it? Work for just over two years and get paid (potentially) for more than five. I took a severance hush money buy out from one company I worked for but it was only worth four week's extra salary. And I was not making $252k per year.

It is basically unemployment compensation ... he was just employed at a higher level. But it sure feels like hush money.
  by byte
 
This does seem to be Pagano Metra vs. New Metra, with the former winning out this round. With Clifford you got the feeling that at some point in the near future the agency might actually become a real, modern mass transit system, rather than the operation we have now, whose middle management treats it like a freight railroad under the direction of a board of directors which is almost entirely comprised of suburban businessmen.
  by Tadman
 
Byte, you make a very valid observation. That said, there are pros and cons to the status quo of a "Freight railroad carrying commuters overseen by a suburban biz board".

The pros are obvious: Metra runs like a darn railroad. They don't use a lot of goofy marketing BS like "valued customers" to try to fool anybody into thinking it's a hotel or a Williams Sonoma store, it's a darn railroad for moving things (people). They also don't go for far-out equipment experiments, and you have a real lack of equipment problems that plague other passenger carriers like DE/DM, PL42, and Acela.

The cons are fairly well-known, too. Metra won't think of itself as a part of the transport network, and thus plays poorly with CTA. In this city, you're either a CTA rider or a Metra rider. Imagine, if CTA and Metra were to cooperate a bit more, how many jobs could be opened up in different locations due to currently un-publicized and un-coordinated transfer opportunities at locations like Mayfair/Montrose.
  by byte
 
Metra's roots of having freight management go back to the RTA's assumption of commuter rail service. Back when that happened, you had lots of ex-Rock Island and Milwaukee Road managers who came on board to run things as their respective roads went bankrupt. At that time that was good for the system - have the same managers running it that were previously doing it.

However, railroad managers in general are extremely conservative in their tendency to try new things and innovate. (I know this because I worked for 2.5 years in "the biz" before heading back to grad school.) The corporate culture of "this is how we've always done it, so why change?" persists in many factions within the railroad industry, and from my observation Metra is one of them. Essentially they operate 1981's premier commuter railroad.

Then of course there's the fact that Metra is a public transportation authority, yet they're really big on private business-style management. Managing a private business and a public agency are two different things and the sooner it soaks in that they're more like the CTA than they are BNSF, the better off the riding public will be.
  by Tadman
 
Here's a news feature:

HAWKS WIN!!!!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/loca ... 0986.story" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Fair use quote: "The greatest -- or at the least the most publicly accessible -- victory lap in all of sports has picked up where it left off three years ago, with the Blackhawks trotting the Stanley Cup around Chicago as the city celebrates its second NHL championship since 2010. "

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming...
  by E Runs
 
justalurker66 wrote:
Tadman wrote:That is an obscene buyout. I usually defend CEO pay, but that's just nuts. It's about equal to the money Pagano stole and far more than Clifford's annual salary, which was something like $200-250k. So here we have the ugly exit of Pagano over stealing $400k+, and Clifford exits quietly and gets a $400k gift equal to almost double his salary?
It is about what it would cost for the rest of his contract plus a year's severance. The kicker is the additional $300k that Metra could pay if Clifford does not find the next job. Basically two more years pay beyond the initial contract. $742k for nothing more than he has already done.

That being said I assume that there are some protections in the contract for the agency. Probably protections that we the taxpayers do not want to see ... prohibitions on discussing his relationship with the dysfunctional board. In a way, it is hush money ... paid to protect the board. A board that felt they should be running Metra instead of the CEO they hired to run Metra for them.
Tadman wrote:I gotta get on the gravy train...
It would be nice, wouldn't it? Work for just over two years and get paid (potentially) for more than five. I took a severance hush money buy out from one company I worked for but it was only worth four week's extra salary. And I was not making $252k per year.

It is basically unemployment compensation ... he was just employed at a higher level. But it sure feels like hush money.
No, those are the things we should be jumping up and down to see. I for one would love to know the reasons these bozos had for knee-capping Clifford.
  by Tadman
 
E Runs, I don't know if you're in Chicago, but nobody is saying anything here. Crains and the Trib are remarkably quiet on the issue. Clifford has a non-disclosure according to a poster above. I'd like to know, as well, what went so wrong.
  by E Runs
 
Yes, I am here in the cradle of shady politics and curruption and have been watching this situation unfold. There are 2 state legislators rattling their sabres and calling for hearings but what's done is done. I think it's clear Clifford lost the power pull to the politically appointed board yet has enough over them to negotiate that "settlement". And now the Board, I'm sorry the taxpayers, are paying dearly for his silence.

I don't want to get too off topic here but it's exactly this kind of tripe that's a factor in my family's decision to move out of this state.
  by Tadman
 
For a newspaper I've grown to absolutely despise, they hit the nail on the head.
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