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News

Joliet interim city manager gets vocal support, awaits vote on removal

fInterim City Manager Marty Shanahan (right) attends Monday's pre-council meeting on June 17, 2019, at City Hall in Joliet, Ill.
fInterim City Manager Marty Shanahan (right) attends Monday's pre-council meeting on June 17, 2019, at City Hall in Joliet, Ill.

Several residents spoke on behalf of interim City Manager Martin Shanahan, but the Joliet City Council said nothing at a Monday meeting that precedes a vote on whether to relieve Shanahan of his duties.

The council is slated to vote at its regular meeting Tuesday on a proposal to remove Shanahan from the position he has held since October.

What would happen next is unclear, and council members did not clarify at their Monday workshop meeting.

“Why would you get rid of him when he’s interim?” asked Mary Beth Gannon. “You want another interim? It doesn’t make any sense.”

Gannon, like most of the speakers on the issue, has a connection to Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, who is among a council minority that wants to promote Shanahan to city manager on a permanent basis.

Five members of the council last week called for a vote to remove Shanahan, apparently because there’s been no action on their preference to open up the job for candidates.

The council chambers were crowded with Shanahan supporters, many of them city employees.

“My main objection for having Mr. Shanahan removed is exact clarity for the reason why,” Vincent Alessio said. “I don’t know that it’s been truly stated the reason for having him removed from office.”

Councilman Pat Mudron last week said the five council members who want a candidate search are frustrated that nothing has been done. Mudron and other council members did not comment at the Monday meeting.

The one speaker against Shanahan, John Sheridan, has been an increasingly vocal critic of the city manager.

Sheridan pointed to Shanahan’s roles in keeping police officer Brian Nagra on the payroll while awaiting a hearing for discharge and keeping a naming rights agreement for the city-owned stadium confidential. He also said Shanahan has suppressed information about city employees testing positive for steroids.

“The city of Joliet does not operate in secrecy, and the city of Joliet does not need a city manager who supports that kind of operation,” Sheridan said.

Supporters said Shanahan has tackled issues that have not been addressed for years, such as overweight trucks, and has been a hands-on manager.

“Why would you consider removing someone who has devoted so much of his time and obviously cares so much for our city?” asked Kathy Spieler.

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