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May 19, 2024

UPDATE: Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency’s disqualified Directors –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On July 29, 2018



In our previous article, we discussed alleged disqualifications of all but one of the Directors of the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency – two for being elected Aldermen of the City of Kankakee, and 4 for being elected Mayors of the various municipalities making up the KRMA.

There was no real objection to our allegation against the Alderman, however, for the allegation that the Mayors were ineligible, we did field some objections and the relevant part was quoted in the original article and part of the Illinois Municipal Code which states:

“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.”

Some have taken exception to the “under the municipal government” portion of the municipal code and claim that the KRMA is not “under” the municipal government because in the statute authorizing the Agency, it clearly states that “any such Agency shall itself be a municipal corporation and a public body politic and corporate” (see section 3.4(a)).

What does that mean?

Municipal Corporation:  “an artificial being created by an act of law” – “their powers are effected thru ordinances and resolutions” – “only have the powers expressly granted them through legislative or constitutional provisions” – In the case of the KRMA, the legislature granted the municipalities the power to grant the KRMA the right to sue or be sued. The municipalities simply declined to do so.

Public body politic: simply means it is a public body, a civil division of government. An older and more formal way of saying “Municipal Corporation”

So the Intergovernmental Agreement Act created the Joint Municipal Sewage Treatment Agency (Section 3.4), which also explained which powers and duties the Agency was granted by the legislature, and how it acquired them in Section 3.4(d):

  1. A Joint Municipal Sewage Treatment Agency shall have such powers as shall be provided in the agreement establishing it, which may include, but need not be limited to, the following powers: (1) to sue or be sued.” There are others, but this power is what determines whether or not this Agency falls “under” the municipalities, or can legitimately stand on its own, apart from those municipalities.

The “agreements establishing” this agency do not include the [optional] power to sue or be sued. Neither the Intergovernmental Agreement nor the By-Laws grant this Agency the power to sue or be sued under its own name. So if they violate the law, who does a Plaintiff sue? The municipalities making up the Agency.

Not yet convinced this Agency falls “under” the municipalities?

Look no further than the Illinois Comptroller database on local governments and their Annual Financial Reports (“AFR”).

This Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency is not in the Comptroller’s database.

The City of Kankakee is in the Comptroller’s database, and according to the AFRs for Kankakee, they list this Agency in Step 9: Governmental Entities. List of governmental entities that are part of or related to the primary government (Kankakee). See it (here).

Aroma Park also lists them in Step 9 of the AFR, but Bourbonnais and Bradley do not.

We stand by our earlier assessment that the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency (Joint Municipal Sewage Treatment Agency) is “under the municipalities” and therefore any Mayor or Alderman who is appointed as Director of this Agency are usurping the office, according to the Illinois Municipal Code and the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act.
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