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Local News

City Attorney Marty Shanahan fired

Joliet City Attorney Marty Shanahan was fired after Tuesday night's council meeting.

Shanahan is no longer working for the city, interim City Manager Steve Jones confirmed. But Jones would not comment on what happened.

"I have no comment pertaining to any current matter of personnel," he said.

Jones informed the council of his decision to remove Shanahan as city attorney during a closed session at the end of the council meeting.

"It's his call," Councilman Michael Turk said. "The City Council hires the city manager, and he deals with the personnel."

Sources said Jones brought up several issues with the council, including Shanahan's handling of matters related to the city's police board and the patrol officers' union.

One source called Shanahan's handling of police personnel matters a "complete manipulation of City Hall."

The closed session took place after a council meeting, which included an open discussion over the handling of pending police disciplinary matters.

Shanahan and city officials would not comment on the reasons for his dismissal.

"Your newspaper hasn't been fair to me for the last year and a half," Shanahan said. "I don't have any comment to your paper."

The subject of police discipline arose when Tamara Cummings, an attorney for the police patrol officers' union, called by phone during the public comments portion of the council meeting.

Cummings questioned why 11 pending police disciplinary matters, including two terminations, going back as far as 2018 have not been brought to the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners.

"I'm not sure where the problem is, and we don't know where else to voice our frustration," Cummings said.

Shanahan told the council that the police board rules require the police chief to bring charges.

"It's very clear that the chief must file the appropriate charges with the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners," Shanahan said.

He added that he had relayed that information to Jones and Police Chief Al Roechner.

Roechner, questioned as he was leaving the meeting, said he's done what police board rules require and has filed disciplinary charges in the cases.

"My job is done," Roechner said. "It's in the hands of the attorneys when they're ready to do the cases."

Roechner said Shanahan expected him to handle the case before the police board instead of the city's legal staff.

"That's what he's saying. I have to call the witnesses and everything," Roechner said. "It's never been done that way in the past."

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk would not confirm or deny whether Shanahan was fired.

"No, because I left (executive session) pretty early on," O'Dekirk said.

“I saw what was happening and I wasn’t going to participate in it,” he said.

O'Dekirk a year ago wanted to promote Shanahan, who at the time was serving as interim city manager, to the city manager job on a permanent basis.

But the City Council was divided and ultimately voted 5-3 to remove Shanahan as interim city manager, put Jones in the position, and open the job up for applications. The city has yet to fill the post and has not had a permanent city manager since October 2018.

Joliet Inspector General Chris Regis, who also worked with Shanahan as assistant city attorney, would not confirm or deny if Shanahan had been fired.

"I don't have any first-hand knowledge of it," Regis said, adding, "The situation is fluid, as they say."

Shanahan was hired as city attorney in 2014 and served as interim city manager twice.

Councilwoman Jan Quillman would not comment on what led to Shanahan's departure but spoke highly of him.

"He was a forthright and upstanding man," Quillman said. "He did a fabulous job for the city. He did a great job as interim city manager, and he was a great attorney. It's a huge loss for the city of Joliet."

Quillman is among a three-member council minority that joined the mayor in supporting Shanahan for the permanent city manager job.

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