Hales needed to learn fast. He was getting ready for the first city council meeting Wednesday on the proposed 2018 budget, which was just released last week.
While he was getting up to speed on pressing city matters, Hales hopes to help Joliet make better long-range plans for the future.
Like his predecessor Jim Hock, who retired in May, Hales said he wants Joliet to have long-term strategic plans that will be used to develop spending priorities.
"Joliet like any community needs to be proactive in developing a long-term financial plan," he said. "Traditionally, cities put together a 12-month budget and do it year after year. But what are the future challenges we're facing? We've got to come up with a long-term plan."