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Local News

Okon: Keeping track of who's investigating who in Joliet

Chris Regis is Joliet's inspector general.
Chris Regis is Joliet's inspector general.

Is or isn’t he?

If only Chris Regis knows for sure whether he’s conducting the investigation that Mayor Bob O’Dekirk announced at the Sept. 30 council meeting – he says he is.

“I know what I’m doing,” Regis said when told that others question whether the investigation is proceeding.

Other than affirming that it is proceeding, Regis wouldn’t say anything else.

The inspector general does not have to say what he’s investigating, although the mayor let everyone know that the investigation involves Police Chief Al Roechner at the council meeting.

Obviously, when a mayor says the police chief is under investigation, that draws attention, but O’Dekirk says he can’t say more about it.

O’Dekirk revealed the investigation in the context of commenting about a report in The Herald-News about a Roechner memo determining the mayor had wrongly accused a police sergeant of being “drunk as a skunk” while on duty at Fiesta en la Calle.

Roechner says he has not been questioned and does not know anything about the inspector general’s investigation.

Meanwhile, the police department still is doing its own investigation into the Fiesta en la Calle matter, which included Roechner taking Sgt. Lindsey Heavener to Silver Cross Hospital for blood and urine tests to determine he had not been drinking.

Until that investigation is done, Officer Joe Clement, who is assigned to the mayor’s office, isn’t working there, Roechner said.

“He’s assigned to the same duties, but he’s working out of the police station,” Roechner said.

Clement, according to the police department memos obtained by The Herald-News, also said Heavener had been drinking, although it appears only Clement and the mayor may have thought so.

Interim City Manager Steve Jones recently retained law firm Ancel Glink to look into what Jones has characterized as mistrust and miscommunication between City Hall and the police department.

Council member Pat Mudron wants Ancel Glink also to review the arrangement under which Joliet’s inspector general reports only to the mayor, while also serving as an assistant city attorney who reports to the city manager.

Under Joliet’s city manager form of government, nearly all employees are under the authority of the city manager.

But not all are.

Joliet is not what is called a strong mayor form of government, in which the mayor runs the city. But even under Joliet’s weak mayor system, the mayor has authority over a handful of employees, including the inspector general.

The mayor has an administrative assistant. The mayor also serves as the city’s liquor commissioner and hires two deputy liquor commissioners.

A police officer, who works on liquor cases along with other duties, is assigned to the mayor’s office. But that officer is not under the authority of the mayor, and is supervised by the police chief.

That’s Joe Clement.

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