The Joliet City Council could vote Tuesday on a contract to bring back Jim Hock as interim city manager, although it’s not clear if a deal has been reached.
If Hock is hired, a newly created job description for interim city manager would require him to move into Joliet within a week after being appointed and “be available around the clock.”
The council agenda for Monday and Tuesday includes votes on both an employment agreement with Hock and the position’s job description.
Hock is being considered amid a shake-up in the city manager’s office, which has been occupied on an interim basis since October when former City Manager David Hales left after less than a year on the job.
City Attorney Martin Shanahan had filled in on an interim basis until June 18, when a council majority removed him from the job after Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and a council minority had urged promoting him to the position permanently. Since then, Deputy City Manager Steve Jones has filled the role as interim city manager.
Jones told the Land Use and Legislative Committee on Wednesday that staff was still in the process of negotiating an employment agreement with Hock.
The political division over the recent developments was evident as the committee considered job descriptions for the city manager job.
“We don’t want Hock, so there you have it,” council member Jan Quillman at one point said to council member Don Dickinson.
Dickinson is part of the majority that removed Shanahan and supports bringing back Hock as an interim city manager while Joliet searches for a permanent city manager. Shanahan’s supporters have objected to hiring Hock.
Quillman focused much of the debate on how available an interim city manager will be on weekends, apparently out of concern that Hock, who now lives in Michigan, will spend much of his time there.
“We don’t want an absent city manager every weekend because they’re going to leave and visit their family,” Quillman said.
The proposed job description requires the interim city manager to “be available around the clock to respond to emergencies.” But Assistant City Attorney Chris Regis said the city couldn’t restrict an employee’s whereabouts during time off.
“You can’t put in a job description that you can’t leave town on weekends,” he said.