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Local News

Joliet council set to review McFarland resignation

Councilman Jim McFarland addresses members of the public and the Joliet City Council on Aug. 18. He has submitted his resignation from City Council.
Councilman Jim McFarland addresses members of the public and the Joliet City Council on Aug. 18. He has submitted his resignation from City Council.

JOLIET – The City Council is slated to discuss the resignation of Councilman Jim McFarland and the vacancy created by his planned departure on Sept. 30.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk is considering announcing a replacement for McFarland as early as Tuesday, although he said that is tentative.

The vacancy is on the agenda for both the Monday and Tuesday meetings of the Joliet City Council.

The item was put on the agenda while the city was still waiting for an official resignation from McFarland and as questions have arisen as to whether he has already moved out of the city.

“You have to be a city resident to be on the City Council,” O’Dekirk said.

McFarland in an email to The Herald-News on Friday said: “Joliet residents can rest assured my residency is in city limits until Sept. 30th.”

McFarland, who has sold his house, said in emails that he is renting a residence on Emery Street in Joliet.

He also said he emailed a copy of a notarized resignation letter that was dated Friday and addressed to O’Dekirk. He had sent a resignation letter to the city manager on Sept. 9, but state law requires a notarized letter to the mayor.

Both O’Dekirk and City Manager Jim Hock said that as of Friday afternoon, they had not yet seen the letter.

“Council wanted the item on the agenda just to press the issue,” Hock said. “Plus, the question is whether or not he can vote on anything if he has moved out of the city already and is no longer a resident.”

O’Dekirk would not comment on McFarland’s current residency.

“I think this is probably going to unfold in the next couple of days,” he said.

McFarland in his letter said his resignation is effective Sept. 30 “due to my family’s relocation to a different community.”

He did not say in the letter where he was moving. McFarland is rumored to be moving to Frankfort. In an email sent Sept. 9 to The Herald-News, McFarland said he was moving to Rockdale.

He has not responded to requests for phone interviews, and instead has communicated with brief comments through emails and texts.

O’Dekirk said he had hoped to introduce his selection to fill McFarland’s position to the council this week. The mayor makes appointments to council vacancies, which then go to the council for approval.

“I was going to have that person available on Tuesday,” O’Dekirk said. “I don’t know if that’s going to happen.”

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