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Local News

Looks like it's Jones for Joliet interim city manager

The Joliet city manager saga has taken another turn with a change in plans.

Interim City Manager Steve Jones apparently will continue to fill in as Joliet starts a city manager search.

And Joliet no longer is considering hiring former City Manager Jim Hock as an interim city manager.

At least for now.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk broke the news Tuesday after the City Council delayed a scheduled vote to approve an employment agreement for interim city manager until its Aug. 6 meeting.

The council did not discuss the decision. But O’Dekirk brought it up at the end of the meeting under the topic of new business.

Noting that he left early during a Monday closed session on the matter, O’Dekirk said, “My understanding is that the council majority decided not to offer a job to Mr. Hock and now plan to negotiate a contract with Mr. Jones.”

“That appears to be the case,” replied council member Pat Mudron, who initially contacted Hock about returning to Joliet.

“That’s pretty much the direction I left the meeting in,” Jones said.

The development led to another spirited discussion over the city manager issue with council member Larry Hug, who opposed hiring Hock, demanding to know why he wasn’t being hired.

Hug also left the closed session early.

But he said Hock was asking for basically the same compensation when a council majority voted to negotiate a contract with him.

“We were given a one-page sheet last night, which is exactly what he said three weeks ago,” Hug said.

Hug has said previously that Hock wanted to be paid $215,000 a year, the salary of the previous city manager before he left in October after less than a year in the job.

“In the end we were not happy, so we did not give him the offer,” council member Sherri Reardon said. “In the end, Mr. Jones had a change in mind, and it worked out well for our city.”

Jones, normally the city’s deputy city manager/economic development director, previously had said he would prefer not to stay in the interim city manager job.

Meanwhile, Jones reported that he contacted GovHR USA about starting a new city manager search and was told it would cost between $7,500 and $10,000. Most of the fees charged in the search that led to the hiring of David Hales are being waived because he left in less than two years, Jones said.

City Attorney Martin Shanahan had been interim city manager after Hales but was removed by a divided City Council on June 18 and replaced by Jones.

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