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Local News

Joliet council meets Wednesday on Hock replacement

Jim Hock
Jim Hock

JOLIET – The city council will hold a special meeting Wednesday to discuss plans for hiring a new city manager.

City Manager Jim Hock informed the mayor and city council on Thursday that he will retire on May 3.

Hock said on Friday that there are no issues at city hall prompting his departure other than that he decided it was time to retire.

"There comes a time in your life," said Hock, 62. "I've had 39 years in local government. For the last 10 years, I've heard about people I've hired retiring after 30 years. I thought I'd join the group."

Hock has been city manager in Joliet since November 2013.

The meeting on Wednesday will be 5:30 p.m. in City Hall. The agenda includes an open discussion on the hiring process for a new city manager to be followed by a closed session to discuss personnel.

City council members said they were surprised to get an email from Hock on Thursday about his decision to retire. They also said there were no issues with Hock's work.

Hock, too, said there were no internal issues leading to his decision.

He said there are possibilities that he could remain in some capacity during the transition period to a new city manager, although he plans to travel to South Carolina in May for a grandchild's graduation.

Hock said his years in Joliet have been among the busiest in his career.

"This job's been the most challenging, and it's the most rewarding because of that," he said.

Joliet has been in a growth period for the last few years with Amazon.com building two fulfillment centers, redevelopment occurring downtown. and the development of an agreement to build a toll bridge across the Des Plaines River.

"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished, and things are lined up to keep progressing," he said.

Among the decisions the council will have to make is what to do during the transition period and how to replace Hock, Mayor Bob O'Dekirk said.

"It's going to be a council decision on how to handle it," O'Dekirk said.

When Hock's predecessor, Thomas Thanas, resigned, it was six months before Hock started. The city hired an executive search firm to find a successor. Thanas stayed in the interim.

O'Dekirk said the council could consider naming an interim city manager from staff until a permanent city manager is hired.

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