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Local News

Joliet pays $95,000 to end Hales' contract

City manager leaves in 11th month on the job; Joliet mum on reasons why

Joliet will pay now-former City Manager David Hales about $95,000 to end his three-year contract with the city.

Hales’ nearly 11 months on the job ended Tuesday when the City Council ended his contract and approved a separation agreement that gives him five of the six months’ severance pay he was due if fired.

Except for one council member who said last week it was Hales’ decision to leave, city officials have not commented publicly about why Hales was leaving.

But Hales’ contract provided no severance pay if he resigned.

The separation agreement provides Hales with severance pay of $89,584, or five months of his annual salary of $215,000. It also provides $5,375 for unused vacation time. And the city will continue to provide health coverage for Hales and his wife through January.

The city also agreed not to protest any claim that Hales may file for unemployment benefits.

The separation agreement was approved by a 6-2 vote. The council voted unanimously to end Hales’ contract with the city.

Hales thanked the City Council and staff for his time in Joliet and left the meeting, ending his employment as city manager.

He declined to comment as he walked away from the council chambers, leaving the reasons for his departure still up to speculation.

Council members did not comment as they voted, other than Jan Quillman saying she did not agree with the separation agreement.

“I don’t agree with it, so therefore I have to vote no,” Quillman said.

Quillman and Larry Hug, who last week said it was Hales’ decision to leave, were the two no votes.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk did not vote, but he is said to have been dissatisfied with a decision by Hales to use an outside consultant to help in the search process for a new police chief since Brian Benton retired in August.

O’Dekirk was quoted in a news release put out by the city at the meeting, saying, “It has been a pleasure working with David, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

The city through the news release also announced that city attorney Marty Shanahan again will take on the job of interim city manager.

Shanahan became interim city manager in May 2017 after former City Manager Jim Hock left. Hock announced the month before that he was retiring, but he has since become a finalist for an interim city manager job in Marco Island, Florida.

Chris Regis, the city’s inspector general and assistant city attorney, will take over as interim city attorney, as he did when Hock left.

Hales made brief comments to the council and staff after the votes at the Tuesday meeting.

“I just want to extend my sincere appreciation for the honor and privilege of serving the city of Joliet,” Hales told the council, as he also commended city staff. “It’s been really a humbling experience to be part of the Joliet family and serve alongside them.”

He then shook the hands of council members, the mayor and department heads at the meeting before walking away.

Hales started in November 2017 after coming from Bloomington, where he had been city manager for nine years.

His future in Joliet became doubtful at least two weeks ago, when O’Dekirk reportedly told the council in a closed session that it should begin considering an exit strategy.

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