JOLIET – Joliet has hired David Hales as its new city manager at a salary of $215,000.
Hales, now the city manager of Bloomington, will start his new job in 60 days.
He described the Joliet job as "a dream come true" in comments after the City Council approved Hales' contract with an 8-0 vote.
"The city of Joliet has such a sterling reputation," Hales said, adding that the city "really is setting the standard here in Illinois. I just thought it would be a dream come true to come and join you in your outstanding effort."
Hales, 63, is a native of Utah who has previously been city manager in Bend, Utah, Kannapolis, North Carolina, and Centerville, Utah. He was the director of finance and administrative services before starting the Bloomington job in January 2009.
Talking with reporters after the council meeting, Hales said his work in Bloomington prepared him well for the Joliet job.
"I got really indoctrinated into the challenges financially of being city manager in the state of Illinois," he said.
Hales, 63, said his contract with Bloomington requires 60-days notice before leaving the job.
At a salary of $215,000 he is near the top end of the pay range for the city manager job, which was advertised as paying between $185,000 to $220,000. His predecessor, Jim Hock who retired in May, had a salary of $188,000 in 2016 while stipends and other income brought his gross pay to just under $196,000, according to the city’s Payroll Summary Report.
Council members approved hiring Hales without comment other than to welcome him to Joliet.
In a press release issued after the vote, Mayor Bob O'Dekirk described Hales as "clearly a seasoned and respected city manager who will bring a tremendous amount of value to our city.”
Sources said Hales was the top candidate for the job after the council did initial interviews. The city received 79 applications and interviewed nine candidates.
Hales told reporters he plans to start his job "doing a lot of listening."
He said within the first three months on the job he plans to go out to meetings throughout the community and hear from people about their needs and what they think the city's priorities should be.
"I put a high value on citizen engagement," Hales said. "That particularly is true in terms of getting out into the neighborhoods."
Hales described his management style as that of "building a strong team."
"In this day and age, you're going to have greater success when you build that confidence in your peers," he said.
Hales holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Brigham Young University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Utah.
At the City Council meeting, Hales introduced his wife, Kathy. He said they have six children and 13 grandchildren.