Report on embattled agency planned

February 28, 2019

BRADLEY — In December, Bradley village trustee Lori Gadbois wanted a report from the mayor on the troubled sewage treatment agency, to which Bradley belongs.

She still is waiting, but she said she is fine with that.

At the start of Monday’s Bradley village board meeting, Gadbois wondered about the report on the agency, the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency.

“Several months ago, I asked for a KRMA update. Can we get something scheduled?” she asked.

Mayor Bruce Adams said he would discuss the matter later in the meeting.

Near the end of the session, the mayor said he had been prepared to give the update at that meeting with the agency’s lawyer, Neal Smith. But he said Smith had a family emergency. So, the new plan is to give the report at the board’s March 11 meeting, about three months after Gadbois’ request.

“The attorney will be here to answer questions,” Adams said. “I wouldn’t expect much more than what you have read in the paper.”

The Daily Journal has published about two dozen stories since early November about KRMA’s issues.

On Tuesday, Gadbois said she was fine with Adams’ delayed update. She said she had agreed to his plan to report on the agency in the first quarter of the year.

“He has brought more light (to KRMA),” Gadbois said.

The issues with KRMA revolve around Richard Simms, who led the agency as executive director for more than a quarter century. He retired last April.

After his departure, officials started questioning the $700,000 that the agency spent on software with Simms’ firm, Simms Engineering. The company got paid monthly for the project, receiving unexplained raises every few months.

The city of Kankakee, where Simms served as utilities superintendent, faces an almost identical situation.

In both cases, officials reported the Simms-created software does not work. KRMA said Simms apparently was “self-dealing” by trying to sell the software that it paid for on the open market.

The members of KRMA are Kankakee, Bradley, Bourbonnais and Aroma Park. All their mayors belong to the seven-member board. The remaining three members are appointed by the Kankakee mayor.

Apparently, only in Bradley have elected representatives publicly sought answers on the agency. Both Gadbois and trustee Nick Allen have asked for a report in Bradley.

In Kankakee, aldermen have not asked for an update during meetings.

Bourbonnais Mayor Paul Schore said he has spoken to trustees one-on-one about KRMA, but they haven’t asked publicly about it.

Aroma Park Mayor Brian Stump said village board members have not asked about KRMA during public meetings.