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Local News

Okon: Making the $100,000-plus pay grade in Joliet

Interim City Manager Martin Shanahan listens to James Ghedotte deliver the 2019 city budget Dec. 4 during a City Council meeting.
Interim City Manager Martin Shanahan listens to James Ghedotte deliver the 2019 city budget Dec. 4 during a City Council meeting.

Given all the drama and controversy over the city manager job in Joliet, you may wonder who would want it.

Besides the challenge of managing the third largest city in Illinois, the pay ain’t bad.

The next permanent city manager is likely to make more than $200,000.

But the pay ain’t bad for most jobs at the city of Joliet.

Most city workers make more than $100,000, according to the 2018 Annual City Treasurer’s Report released this month.

The number of employees paid more than $100,000 was 548.

The number paid less than $100,000 was 408.

The treasurer’s report no longer lists individual’s exact salaries but does list them by categories.

The biggest category is those paid more than $125,000, which totals 290.

Next comes those paid between $100,000 and $125,000, which totals 258.

Another 127 made between $75,000 and $100,000; 98 made between $50,000 and $75,000; 52 made between $25,000 and $50,000; and 131 made less than $25,000.

The total payroll for 956 workers was $92,570,285.

The last city manager, David Hales, was making an annual salary of $215,000 but left in October and before the end of his first year for reasons never made clear by Hales or city officials.

Who replaces Hales has been a big question at city hall with interim City Manager Martin Shanahan appearing to have a possible inside track until this week.

The City Council is slated to vote Tuesday on whether to remove Shanahan as interim city manager.

“The people that want this to go out for a job search are somewhat frustrated about nothing getting done,” said council member Pat Mudron.

Mudron is among the five council members wanting the job to be opened up to applicants.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and three council members have been in favor of giving the job to Shanahan.

The vote Tuesday is likely to force the issue.

But even a vote against Shanahan doesn’t necessarily mean he’s out for good.

As did Gen. Douglas MacArthur in World War II, Shanahan could return.

This already is his second stint as interim city manager, which is part of the case being made for him being promoted to the job on a permanent basis.

If he is relieved of duties as interim city manager, Shanahan presumably would return to his regular duties as city attorney. But he also would be free to apply for the city manager job along with other candidates.

Shanahan already has four votes on his side. A couple of the council members who have urged opening up the job have said they are not opposed to hiring Shanahan if he proves to be the best candidate for the job.

Whether they mean it is one question.

Who would become the second interim city manager if Shanahan is removed is another question.

It’s a pretty messy situation.

But then again, the pay ain’t bad.

• Bob Okon is a longtime Herald-News reporter. He can be reached at 815-280-4121 or

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