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Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency’s disqualified Directors –

KANKAKEE, IL. (ECWd) –

We recently took a look at the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency (“Agency”), which operates the “Municipal Joint Sewage Treatment Agency” for several municipalities in Kankakee County.

It is our opinion that the four mayors are prohibited from serving on this Board of Directors (65 ILCS 5/3.1-15-15), and the two Aldermen appointed by the mayor of Kankakee are prohibited from serving on this Board of Directors (65 ILCS 5/3.1-15-15 and 50 ILCS 105/2). This leaves the one appointed representative from Kankakee as the lone legitimate member of the Board of Directors of this Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency. All of this is explained in detail below.

According to their website, the Agency was established through an Intergovernmental Agreement in 1988 and currently has the following board members appointed by the various municipalities:

  • Chairman – Bruce W. Adams, Mayor, Village of Bradley
  • Vice Chairman – Dennis Baron, Alderman, City of Kankakee
  • Secretary – Paul Schore, Mayor, Village of Bourbonnais
  • Chasity Wells-Armstrong, Mayor, City of Kankakee
  • Brian Stump, Mayor, Village of Aroma Park
  • Mark Wakat, Representative, City of Kankakee
  • Carl Brown, Alderman, City of Kankakee

This Agency is governed by Section 3.4, Municipal Joint Sewage Treatment Agency, of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act. There is no provision granting the power to appoint mayors, aldermen, or village trustees to the Agency’s Board of Directors.

We next turn to the Intergovernmental Agreement (“IGA”) (here) and By-Laws (here) to see if there are any provisions for how Directors are appointed and any qualifications or disqualifications. Page 9, paragraph C of the IGA explains appointments to the Board of Directors as follows: Four persons appointed by the Mayor of Kankakee, and one person from each of the Villages of Aroma Park, Bourbonnais and Bradley appointed by the respective Mayors of said Villages. The by-laws acknowledge their local rules are subservient to state law as outlined in Article XII, Section 1 of the By-Laws.  It also appears the City of Kankakee is sitting on this Board with the majority vote at all times.

We will next look at the Illinois Municipal Code (here). Section 3.1-15-15, Holding Other Offices, explains that:

A mayor, president, alderman, trustee, clerk, or treasurer shall not hold any other office under the municipal government during the term of that office, except when the officer is granted a leave of absence from that office or except as otherwise provided in Sections 3.1-10-50, 3.1-35-135, and 8-2-9.1. Moreover, an officer may serve as a volunteer fireman and receive compensation for that service. 

So it appears the entire Board of Directors of this Agency, except for Mark Wakat, are in violation of the Illinois Municipal Code for holding another office. This Agency is “under the municipal governments” of four municipalities.

Next we will look at the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act (“POPAA”), Sections 2 and Section 4 for restrictions and penalties. Section 2 is the applicable section and states:

Sec. 2. No alderman of any city, or member of the board of trusees of any village, during the term of office for which he or she is elected, may accept, be appointed to, or hold any office by the appointment of the mayor or president of the board of trustees, unless the alderman or board member is granted a leave of absence from such office, or unless he or she first resigns from the office of alderman or member of the board of trustees, or unless the holding of another office is authorized by law. The alderman or board member may, however, serve as a volunteer fireman and receive compensation for that service. The alderman may also serve as a commissioner of the Beardstown Regional Flood Prevention District board. Any appointment in violation of this Section is void. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit an elected municipal official from holding elected office in another unit of local government as long as there is no contractual relationship between the municipality and the other unit of local government. This amendatory Act of 1995 is declarative of existing law and is not a new enactment.

According to the POPAA, the Aldermen appointed by the mayor of Kankakee are ineligible to serve as members of the Board of Directors of this Agency, and according to Section 4 of the POPAA, the accepting, appointing, and holding of this office carries the penalty of a Class 4 Felony if convicted – unless the aldermen took a leave of absence or resigned from their office of alderman prior to the appointment.

We suggest these various municipalities get busy appointing Directors to this Agency who can legally serve as Director.

We also suggest any interested person contact the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department to file a criminal complaint against the two aldermen appointed by the mayor of Kankakee.

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Categories: feature, Kankakee County

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