JOLIET – Joliet has started negotiations with the city manager of Bloomington for the same job here, sources said.
One city council member confirmed that Bloomington City Manager David Hales is a finalist for the Joliet job but could not say whether he has been made an offer.
"I don't know if they contacted him (Hales) yet," said Councilman Terry Morris. "He was one of the final candidates."
Other sources, however, said the city and Hales have already begun negotiations.
Hales, according to news reports, has been city manager in Bloomington since 2008. He was among finalists for the city manager job in Topeka , Kansas in July. He also was a candidate for the city administrator job in Racine, Wisconsin until taking himself out of the running in March.
Sources said some of the candidates Joliet have interviewed have been candidates for other municipal jobs. One even took another job in the process. And another was reported to be in the process of negotiating for another job.
Morris said Hales is not the only candidate being considered for the Joliet job.
"We had it narrowed down to a couple of candidates," he said.
Councilman Michael Turk said, "It's close. I'd say we're down to probably two."
Turk said he expected the council would meet in closed session for an update after one of the council meetings next week. He expected a decision could be made by the council's Oct. 3 meeting.
Mayor Bob O'Dekirk could not be immediately reached Wednesday.
But O'Dekirk on Friday also said he expected the city was close to a decision with an announcement likely to come "in the next week or so."
Once a decision has been made, it will likely be about two months before the new city manager could leave his or her present job to come to Joliet, city officials have said.
Hales could not be immediately reached Wednesday for comment.
Joliet is seeking to replace Jim Hock, who retired in May.
Seventy-nine candidates applied for the job, and the city began interviews of nine candidates on July 31. The job was advertised as paying $185,000 to $220,000.