JOLIET – The lawyer expected to become the city’s first inspector general has made $1,100 in campaign contributions to Mayor Bob O’Dekirk.
Christopher Regis, the only person to interview for the job that pays $120,000 and doubles as assistant corporate counsel, could be appointed to the position Tuesday at the City Council meeting.
The mayor appoints the inspector general with approval from the City Council under an ordinance unanimously approved last month to create the position. No one has expressed opposition to Regis’ appointment.
Both O’Dekirk and Regis, an assistant state’s attorney in the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, said the campaign contributions were not relevant to the inspector general appointment.
“He’s a good candidate, and I contributed to [O’Dekirk’s] campaign as I contributed to a lot of people’s campaigns,” Regis said.
Regis said he has contributed to at least a dozen other candidates, including Councilwoman Jan Quillman and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, mostly by attending fundraisers. He said he also believes he attended a fundraiser years ago for former Mayor Thomas Giarrante, O’Dekirk’s opponent in the last election, when Regis worked for the city as a police officer and Giarrante was a councilman.
Quillman said she does not have records of a contribution from Regis, but he might have attended a fundraiser.
The Illinois State Board of Elections lists four individual contributions by Regis to O’Dekirk. They include two contributions totalling $500 in 2014 and two contributions totalling $600 on July 29. Regis said the July contributions were made at a golf-outing fundraiser for the mayor.
“There’s nothing illegal with the campaign contributions,” O’Dekirk said. “A lot of people voted for me, and a lot of people supported me.”
O’Dekirk noted that contributions to Glasgow by Regis and other employees at the state’s attorney’s office have not been an issue.
O’Dekirk said the appointment could be Tuesday depending on when City Manager Jim Hock hires an assistant corporation counsel. The inspector general ordinance requires the appointee be an assistant corporation counsel in the city’s Legal Department.
Hock said he has not interviewed anyone besides Regis and expects to coordinate the hiring of assistant corporate council with the mayor’s office so an appointment can be made Tuesday.
The inspector general will have subpoena powers to review conduct and job performance by city employees, elected officials including the mayor, and contractors doing work for the city.
O’Dekirk noted that Regis had been a candidate for the corporation counsel job that went to Marty Shanahan, who was hired in December 2014.
“He’s been around,” O’Dekirk said of Regis. “It’s not like his name is coming out of left field.”