State

Franks' bill eliminating ex-transit board member benefits now law

CHICAGO – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation that prevents transit board members from receiving taxpayer-funded health care and pension benefits after they leave the boards.

Marengo Democratic Rep. Jack Franks, who introduced the law, said it was ridiculous for board members of Metra, CTA, Pace and RTA to be entitled to "free health care for life" after "going to a meeting or two a month."

“If we are going to solve Illinois’ fiscal problems, there can be no more sweetheart deals priced into the budget every year, especially ones that promise a lifetime of benefits to part-time board members,” Franks said. “The taxpayers of this state cannot be expected to continually subsidize the incompetence and corruption that persistently afflicts our government.”

Quinn's action Tuesday came as the board of the Metra commuter rail agency continues to be criticized for a $718,000 buyout of ex-CEO Alex Clifford, who had only eight months left on his contract when he resigned June 21.

Clifford's buyout and the circumstances surrounding it have been the focus of an RTA audit and an Illinois House Mass Transit Committee hearing.

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