Report sought on embattled agency

December 27, 2018

BRADLEY — The governing bodies of the towns that belong to the regional sewage treatment plant have been relatively quiet about the plant’s dispute with its former longtime executive director.

But at least one official wants some explanations.

At a Bradley village board meeting earlier this month, Trustee Lori Gadbois asked for a report from Mayor Bruce Adams about the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency, where he chairs the board.

Gadbois said stories in the Daily Journal about KRMA’s recent issues have concerned her.

“Several constituents have reached out to me in different ways by phone and in person and asked me what I know,” Gadbois said in an interview. “I know about as much as they do, reading what is in the paper. I asked him to please give a report, so we can be brought up to speed. We do appreciate the paper bringing this to light.”

Gadbois said the mayor has agreed to present a report to the village board in the first quarter of next year. She said he would not discuss anything related to potential litigation.

KRMA’s attorney has said the board is in a dispute with Richard Simms, who was paid for executive director services through his firm, Simms Engineering. KRMA paid Simms Engineering $768,000 for software that the agency says is incomplete and unusable. Through his lawyer, Simms has refused to divulge which subcontractors he paid for the software.

Adams is one of seven members of KRMA’s board. Rank-and-file members make $600 per meeting, while Adams, as chairman, pulls in $700.

Members point out they do work outside meetings, such as doing their homework reviewing the agency’s documents. Still, they are paid far more per meeting than other local governing bodies.

Four towns — Kankakee, Bradley, Bourbonnais and Aroma Park — govern the plant, with Kankakee appointing four of the seven members.

Adams and the other three mayors appoint themselves to the board, which is the tradition.

None of the current members were on the board in 2007, when the board upped members’ meeting pay to $600, from $50.

Adams has stopped doing phone interviews about KRMA, saying he will only answer emailed questions.

Meanwhile, most members are saying little about the controversies. Member Carl Brown, of Kankakee, will only say, “No comment.”

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