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Local Government

Joliet city manager finalists have become public knowlege

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk said he will address the leaking of city manager candidate names when the hiring process is over.
Mayor Bob O'Dekirk said he will address the leaking of city manager candidate names when the hiring process is over.

The names of the three finalists for the Joliet city manager job have all come out even as the process officially remains confidential.

“If I say anything, I confirm that the leaks are right,” Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said Wednesday, showing some wariness about commenting on the matter. “This is not how the process is supposed to work.”

The names of candidates have been divulged to assorted local media, including The Herald-News.

The candidates are:

• William Jones, city administrator in Mequon, Wisconsin, since 2015 and previously assistant village manager in the Chicago suburb of Glencoe;

• Mark Rooney, town manager in Westerly, Rhode Island, and previously village manager in Carpentersville, who was in the news earlier this month when he received a $220,000 settlement from Carpentersville over the circumstances of his termination, according to a report in The Daily Herald.

• James Capparelli, a Joliet attorney and member of the city’s Plan Commission who has not been an administrator in municipal government but has administrative experience in the military and was a colonel in the Army Reserves.

A last round of interviews will be held with the candidates at a yet unannounced date that’s expected to be in the final week of January.

“As you probably know, the process is still going on and is still underway,” Jones said in a brief phone interview Wednesday. “It would be inappropriate for me to comment.”

Capparelli and Rooney did not return calls Wednesday.

Council member Michael Turk called the leaks of the candidates’ names “an unfortunate situation.”

Council member Jan Quillman said she was “appalled” by what has happened.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Quillman, who has been on the council since 2005 and is participating in the hiring of a city manager for the fourth time.

Some states require disclosure of candidates for public jobs, which led to public knowledge that City Attorney Martin Shanahan had applied for a city manager job last year in Gainesville, Florida.

Shanahan was reported to be among six finalists for the Joliet job.

The Joliet City Council was divided on whether to do an open or confidential search, but opted to keep it confidential.

“I plan on addressing the leaks once the process is done,” O’Dekirk said.

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