KANKAKEE — If there is to be an in-depth audit of the Kankakee Regional Metropolitan Agency books, it won’t happen until October at the earliest.
At Tuesday’s monthly KRMA board meeting, commissioners said they did not know of Bradley Village Board’s resolution from its Monday night village meeting and the group said the matter could be addressed at the next board meeting, Oct. 13.
Bradley and its finance director, Rob Romo, are pushing for what is known as a forensic audit — meaning an in-depth look at certain bills and invoices. The chief target of Bradley’s inquiry are invoices paid to former KRMA executive director Richard Simms.
Romo said the audit could cost about $20,000 and be completed within 30 days.
Near the end of the meeting, Bourbonnais Mayor Paul Schore asked, “Does the Village of Bradley want KRMA to pay for this forensic audit”
“Of course,” Romo replied.
Simms is facing a federal indictment for the alleged defrauding of KRMA and the City of Kankakee’s Environmental Services Utility of about $2 million — $1 million from KRMA and a similar amount from Kankakee’s ESU.
Simms was indicted earlier this year after a lengthy career with both entities. Simms retired from the organization’s on April 30, 2018. He had been involved with the KRMA plant for 31 years.
Romo said if KRMA wants to make sure this type of actions are not repeated, then the board must rely on financial experts to direct them on putting in proper policies and procedures.
But before those steps can be taken, Romo indicated, an in-depth audit must be competed to see where the system lacked controls.
“What happened? How did it slip under our noses?” he asked. “Has anything been implemented since that happened? We have not looked into the payments to Simms. Not looking into this is a huge disservice to the communities and customers” served.
Romo said the agency must identify where there are flaws in KRMA management procedures — particularly those dealing with check-writing.
“How can we prevent it from happening again?” he asked.
The agencies has a day-to-day accounting firm. The books are also audited as is the practice of every other governmental body.
The fate of a third set of eyes, not just looking at the expense and where and when it was paid, but what was the reason for the work and was that service justified, need to be determined.