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Controversy may go unmentioned

December 19, 2018

KANKAKEE — The board for the regional sewage treatment agency might let its dispute with the agency’s former chief go unmentioned at its monthly meeting today.

The Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency board will hold the meeting at 3:30 p.m. in the agency’s offices, 1600 W. Brookmont Blvd., Kankakee. It is open to the public.

The agency’s agenda includes discussions of financial reports and waste summaries and a possible vote on the firing of a rank-and-file employee.

At the end of the meeting, the board will hold a closed session that the agenda says will be about personnel and “possible” litigation.

The litigation might be seen as a reference to the board’s dispute with former executive director Richard Simms, who worked on a contract through his firm, Simms Engineering. But board chairman Bruce Adams said he did not plan to discuss the Simms situation in closed session.

In September, the board, through its attorney, sent a letter to Simms asking about how he spent more than $750,000 for a software application that the agency says is incomplete and unusable. Simms has yet to provide the information.

The board’s attorney has raised the possibility of suing Simms and suggested that Simms might have been “self-dealing” with the software app, trying to sell it elsewhere. Simms’ attorneys said the board approved all of his actions.

At last month’s meeting, the board met for about 40 minutes, more than half of which was in closed session. Members did not discuss Simms in open session and said his situation was not an issue behind closed doors either.

The board’s members receive $600 per meeting. Officers get paid more, with the chairman pulling in $700.

County board members, by contrast, make $70 per meeting.

KRMA board members have been largely silent on their dispute with Simms, who apparently resigned on good terms in April.

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