David Giuliani: Some thoughts about Bradley politics
The political earthquake in Bradley dominated local news over the last week. Here are some thoughts about the village’s situation:
• Already the mayor: Even though Bruce Adams still was officially mayor after the April 2 election, he had lost much of his power. The opposition Progressive Citizens controlled five of the six trustees seats, not good news for Adams. As the informal head of the Progressive Citizens, trustee Mike Watson was something of a mayor already. Adams made it official a little more than a week ago when he abruptly resigned.
• Leaving office: Often, politicians leave office midterm for bad reasons, allowing insiders, rather than voters, to choose their replacements. One good reason to leave is health, which should be a person’s top priority. That’s the justification Adams gave when he abruptly resigned a little more than a week ago.
His departure was just days after the opposition party took control of the village board. Until the April election, Adams and his fellow Democrats held the majority. Now, five of the six board seats are controlled by the Progressive Citizens.
I wondered whether the stress of the new political reality contributed to Adams’ decision to leave. I asked him in a phone conversation, but he would only say, “I won’t comment on the board. I won’t throw stones. I’m a little classier than that.”
• Another mayoral gig: How many people have been the mayor of two different towns? Watson can claim that achievement. In 2006, he became the first mayor of tiny Sammons Point in western Kankakee County. The longtime Bradley resident returned to his hometown a few years later. I’d like to interview Watson about his experience in Sammons Point. What motivated him to move to Sammons Point and take the helm? Why did he come back to Bradley? It must be an interesting story.
• New blood: Bradley might be crashing the party at a number of regional organizations. One is the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency, which runs the regional treatment plant. This organization has been rocked by a controversy involving its former executive director, Richard Simms, who practically created the agency and served for more than a quarter century. Throughout the last few years, Simms got $700,000 for creating software that reportedly doesn’t work. He now is under federal investigation.
Despite all this, KRMA’s meetings tend to be staid affairs, with rarely a word about Simms and his reign. Much of the discussion about him presumably takes place within the comfortable confines of closed meetings. Even before Bradley’s political earthquake, village trustees were getting antsy about KRMA’s troubles. Now, their frustrations might boil over at the sewer plant’s meetings. With the village’s finance director, Rob Romo, as Bradley’s new representative, KRMA meetings might get a bit more spirited. Romo, a CPA and former auditor, has no stake in defending the board’s past decisions.
• Feisty on Facebook: Adams might be gone, but he’s not quiet. He was among many who responded to our Facebook post about the Bradley trustees’ hiring of former Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jamie Boyd as their lawyer. Adams criticized Boyd’s record and questioned how the hiring of a second attorney would save taxpayers’ dollars.
A man responded to the former mayor, “I thought you left!”
“I’m still a resident, just like you!” the mayor responded.
And with social media, he can always stay connected.