Watson voted in as Bradley mayor
BRADLEY — One resignation did what two political campaigns could not: Mike Watson is mayor of Bradley.
At a special village board meeting Thursday afternoon, Watson, a village trustee, was voted in as acting mayor by village trustees to fill the vacancy left by the recent resignation of Mayor Bruce Adams.
A Progressive Citizens Party member, Watson’s nomination was made by Progressive Citizens Party member and new village trustee Ryan LeBran. His motion was seconded by Darren Westphal.
Long-tenured trustee Bob Redmond, the only Democrat left on the board, motioned that as the most-senior trustee, he should be nominated as mayor. After making that motion, his nomination died for lack of a second.
Watson’s nomination was then voted upon, and he was seated as mayor by a 5-1 vote. Only Redmond voted against the nomination. The board now is comprised of four Progressive Citizens Party trustees and one Democrat.
Watson, 57, now has the distinction of serving as mayor of two Kankakee County communities. He was mayor of Sammons Point from 2006 to 2012.
Exactly one month after the April 2 election, in which three Democrat trustees were voted out in favor of three Progressive candidates, the group took complete control.
The movement even caught Watson off guard.
“I didn’t think this last election would lead to this,” he said.
Watson previously had sought election as Bradley mayor in 2013 and in 2017, losing both times to Adams.
Prior to his April 26 resignation, Adams had served as mayor for 10 years. He cited health issues as the reason for his resignation.
The six-member board now will be a five-member board. Watson said the trustee seat he is vacating to serve as mayor will not be filled. The next municipal election will be in 2021.
Two other appointments were made at Thursday’s special meeting with both being filled by the same person.
Village finance director Rob Romo was appointed and unanimously approved as Bradley’s representative to the Kankakee Regional Wastewater Agency board and to the Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau board.
Romo has been with the village only since mid-February, when he was hired to fill the vacancy left by the October resignation of then-finance director Brian Patoska.
“My skill set will be a good addition to these boards,” he said after the meeting. Although he confessed he didn’t see this situation coming when he was hired, he said he is ready for the challenge.
“I’m happy the board has entrusted me with these responsibilities,” he said.
Watson has been openly discussing Bradley’s withdrawal from the visitors bureau. On Monday, trustees voted to rescind a vote committing Bradley’s continued participation and financial support of the CVB.
Asked Thursday why he appointed Romo to the CVB board when he does not want the village to be part of it, Watson responded that as long as hotel tax dollars generated in Bradley are funding it, he wants a voice on the board.
Watson said some chief goals will be to make government much more transparent. He hopes to put the village’s checkbook online so the public can see all expenses.
“I want to open people’s eyes and get people involved in government,” he said.