JOLIET – The Joliet City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved Christopher Regis as the city’s first inspector general, and he is scheduled to start work on Jan. 25.
Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, who appointed Regis to the position, praised his integrity, called him a top prosecutor, and said he was being brought in as part of a plan to bring more accountability to city government.
“One of my goals was to change the culture in City Hall,” O’Dekirk said, referring to the campaign in which he was elected mayor in April.
O’Dekirk said Regis is “on board” with his goals and is familiar with issues that need to be addressed.
Regis, a former Joliet police officer for 10 years who now is an assistant state’s attorney in Will County, had been a candidate for the city’s corporate counsel position in 2014 before that job was given to Marty Shanahan.
The inspector general also will serve as assistant corporate counsel for the city.
Regis was the only person interviewed for the assistant corporate counsel position, which will pay $120,000 a year. The city’s inspector general ordinance requires that the position be filled by an assistant in the city’s Legal Department.
City Manager Jim Hock said after the meeting that Regis will start work on Jan. 25. Hock told the council before the vote that the job was offered to Regis, although he did not say whether he accepted it.
O’Dekirk said Regis’s appointment was “no secret,” noting that it had been discussed in closed council sessions. It was generally known in political circles that O’Dekirk wanted Regis for the position and that he was going to get the job.
The City Council approved Regis’s appointment by a 6-0 vote without discussion other than the mayor’s comments. Council members Bettye Gavin and Jim McFarland were absent.
The inspector general has the authority to investigate the conduct of city employees, elected officials, appointed officers, and contractors doing work for the city. He has the power to examine witnesses under oath and to issue subpoenas.
The results of inspector general investigations are reported to the mayor.
“I can tell you he’s a man of integrity,” O’Dekirk said. “He’s one of the top prosecutors in Will County. He would be a real grab for the city of Joliet.”
O’Dekirk did not specify what issues he expected Regis to tackle. But he has previously pointed to a number of firefighters returning to work from disability leave since he announced plans to create the position as an example of what an inspector general can accomplish.
Regis was a supporter of O’Dekirk in his campaign for mayor. He has contributed $1,100 to O’Dekirk’s campaign fund in the last two years, including $600 in donations made at a July golf outing.