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Madigan's Man At Metra Collected City Pension While Working At Rail Agency

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 26, 2013 1:45PM

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been in the hot seat ever since former Metra CEO Alex Clifford accused him of trying to secure a pay raise for one of his campaign workers who was employed at the rail agency. The Sun-Times reports the Madigan crony, has been receiving a state pension for four years before he asked Madigan to lobby for a raise.

The 57-year-old Ward was collecting a $52,700 pension in 2009 when he began working his $57,000 job at Metra. The Better Government Association told the Sun-Times Ward collected a second pension which boosted his total retirement benefits to over $60,000, on top of his job at Metra.

And yet over $112,000 in income wasn’t enough for Ward, so he allegedly turned to Madigan to lobby for a pay raise. Ward eventually left Metra and now works in Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration. He received a double digit “special salary adjustment” to do so. He now earns $130,740 annually.

This is why we need pension reform in Illinois, ladies and gentlemen.

BGA executive director Andy Shaw accused Ward of having the “chutzpah” to ask for a pay raise while collecting a pension and cited this as another example of why pension reform is long past due. But his most pointed words were levied at Madigan.

“If Mike Madigan knew Mr. Ward was collecting two pensions on top of his Metra salary, his request that Ward get a raise is even more craven and more reflective of a system that serves the insiders instead of the public.”

Clifford detailed his interactions with Madigan regarding the pay raise for Ward in a heavily redacted memo he sent to Metra’s board and allegedly threatened a whistleblower lawsuit before the board bought out his contract last month in a deal that could net Clifford nearly $740,000. The buyout came with a non-disclosure agreement and has been widely criticized by politicians and RTA’s board of directors.

Chicagoist coverage on the Metra-Alex Clifford Buyout scandal