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Local News

Mayor says it's time to fill Joliet city manager job

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk
Mayor Bob O'Dekirk

Joliet officials are divided over what to do next about a city manager, and Mayor Bob O'Dekirk said the prolonged search is hurting the city.

The Joliet City Council Ad Hoc City Manager Search Committee went over options Friday after the full council earlier in the week could not agree on offering the job to one of two finalists.

The full council may vote March 3 on whether to start another candidate search.

O'Dekirk, one of the three members on the search committee, said it's time to make a decision.

"I think we've done enough," O'Dekirk said. "I think we have at least two and probably three candidates that I could have supported."

O'Dekirk also said he believes the city is suffering from the use of interim city managers, pointing to overtime costs in city departments and a projection that final numbers for 2019 will show an $11 million deficit as examples of a lack of tight control.

"Either there was a bad budget put together or total lack of control of the city over the last 12 months, or somebody's lying about the budget," he said. "To continue this for another five or six months I believe is unacceptable."

The city is considering another candidate search with the use of a recruitment firm, which Councilman Michael Turk supported.

"I'm thinking we'd have more candidates," Turk said.

Twenty-five people applied for the job compared to 79 in 2017, the last time Joliet was looking for a city manager.

Joliet did not use a recruitment firm this time, and the job was opened up amid controversy over how the city manager position should be filled that has been dragging on since May. The city has had two interim city managers since David Hales left the job in October 2018 after less than a year on the job.

Director of Human Resources Kathy Franson said she has informed the two finalists about the uncertain state of affairs.

"One of them did say they were still interested in the position," Franson said.

The two finalists were Mark Rooney, town manager in Westerly, Rhode Island, and William Jones, city manager in Mequon, Wisconsin.

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