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Local News

Two key Joliet jobs may not be open for applicants

Mayor has someone in mind for inspector general

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk speaks May 4 to a packed council chamber after taking the mayoral oath of office.
Mayor Bob O'Dekirk speaks May 4 to a packed council chamber after taking the mayoral oath of office.

JOLIET – The hiring of an inspector general and economic development director for Joliet is moving ahead, although it appears possible that neither position will be posted for applications.

Both positions will be on the agenda for a special meeting Monday, when the Joliet City Council will be asked to authorize filling the jobs.

The inspector general, who also will serve as the assistant city attorney, would receive an annual salary of $120,000, according to the proposed 2016 budget the council is set to consider for approval Monday.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and City Manager Jim Hock said Thursday they have not decided whether they will post the position for applicants.

“I don’t know,” O’Dekirk said when asked if the job will be advertised. “I’ve had a handful of people ask me about it. I don’t think it’s a secret that I’ve identified someone who I think would be good for the job.”

O’Dekirk has not said who he might hire. But sources have said he wants to hire Christopher Regis, an assistant state’s attorney in Will County. Regis has confirmed he has talked with O’Dekirk about the position but declined to discuss whether he is likely to get it.

Regis, like O’Dekirk, is a former Joliet police officer who went on to become a lawyer.

The council Tuesday approved an ordinance creating the position of inspector general. That person would have subpoena powers to investigate performance and conduct of employees, elected officials, appointed officials and contractors doing business with the city.

This would be the city’s first inspector general, a position O’Dekirk has sought to create since he became mayor in May.

The ordinance provides for the mayor to appoint an inspector general from the assistants in the city’s Legal Department. The appointment then would go to the council for approval.

The budget, however, calls for the city to eliminate the three lawyers on staff now. City Attorney Marty Shanahan would stay, and an assistant city attorney/inspector general would be hired.

Hock said if the council approves filling the position, he would hire the assistant city attorney. O’Dekirk then would appoint that person to be inspector general.

“Because it’s going to be both an assistant corporate counsel as well as inspector general, the mayor and I have to work on that together,” Hock said. “We’re in discussions on that right now.”

Hock already told the council he plans to hire Steve Jones, now the city’s special projects supervisor, for the deputy city manager/economic development director position.

The job will pay $145,000, according to the budget.

While posting administrative jobs is typical, it is not required, Hock said.

O’Dekirk said other key department head positions have been filled by recruitment without the jobs being posted.

Hock said he recruited Jones for his current position with the plan that he eventually would fill the newly created deputy city manager/economic development director job.

Jones would assist the city manager while also having the assignment of recruiting new business to Joliet. O’Dekirk and some council members for months have said the city needs an economic development director who would travel and attract new business.

Hock said Jones has lengthy experience in public administration and is a former village manager in Oswego and Glen Ellyn.

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