Amid turmoil, Metra names interim director

CHICAGO (AP) — Metra has named an interim executive director to lead the suburban Chicago commuter rail agency as it deals with fallout from allegations of improper dealings with politicians.

The agency's board of directors put operations chief Don Orseno in charge on Tuesday.

The previous CEO, Alex Clifford, resigned in June and says he was forced out for resisting pressure over personnel and contract decisions from politicians, including House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Madigan has denied wrongdoing.

The accusations prompted investigations by the state's inspector general and a House ethics panel. They also led some lawmakers to call Clifford's $718,000 severance deal "hush money."

Five of Metra's 11 board members have resigned.

Orseno has worked in the rail industry for four decades in positions ranging from locomotive engineer to senior management.