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Article updated: 7/26/2013 12:41 PM

Madigan ally at Metra was getting pension

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan asked then Metra CEO Alex Clifford to boost Patrick Ward’s $57,000 salary, the Chicago Sun-Tikmes reports.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan asked then Metra CEO Alex Clifford to boost Patrick Ward's $57,000 salary, the Chicago Sun-Tikmes reports.


Associated Press

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By Associated Press

The Chicago Sun-Times reports a man who figures prominently in allegations Illinois politicians pressured Metra staff in hiring and contract decisions was collecting a pension from the city of Chicago.

The Sun-Times reports former Metra employee Patrick Ward is receiving a city pension of nearly $57,000. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan asked then Metra CEO Alex Clifford to boost Ward's $57,000 salary.

Clifford has alleged he was forced out of the agency for resisting pressure from Madigan and others over jobs and construction contracts.

According to the Sun-Times, Ward took a job with the state of Illinois after leaving the commuter rail agency. He received a "special salary adjustment" guaranteeing him a double-digit pay hike.

Madigan has asked the Legislative Ethics Commission to investigate him for his actions.

Legislative inspector general Tom Homer's office says the commission voted Thursday to investigate whether Madigan and fellow Democratic state Reps. Luis Arroyo and Elizabeth Hernandez interfered with Metra personnel matters.

Madigan last week wrote a letter to the bipartisan commission encouraging it to investigate the circumstances surrounding his involvement in supporting a Metra supervisor's recommendation to give an employee a raise. Allegations were detailed in a memo by former Metra CEO Alex Clifford.

Madigan says he's confident he did nothing inappropriate.

The commission will vote on possible sanctions for the lawmakers after Homer's investigation is done. But Homer has called the law governing conflicts and ethics standards a "toothless tiger" in the past.

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