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News

Joliet mayor wants new temporary city manager

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk
Mayor Bob O'Dekirk

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk wants the city to hire a new interim city manage even if it starts another search for a permanent one.

O'Dekirk wants a change in the existing arrangement by which interim City Manager Steve Jones is doing the job through a contract with GovTempsUSA.

"The current situation that we're in cannot hold. It has to be changed immediately," O'Dekirk said at a Tuesday meeting of the Ad Hoc City Manager Search Committee.

The mayor's ability to change the situation is likely to depend on five council members who approved the contract with Jones in February over the opposition of the mayor and a council minority.

O'Dekirk acknowledged the impediment, referring to the "bloc of five."

The five-member majority opposed O'Dekirk's attempt a year ago to award the permanent city manager job to Marty Shanahan, who was then serving as interim city manager. They eventually removed Shanahan from the job and put in Jones, who was then deputy city manager.

Jones at the end of February retired as a city employee but stayed on as interim city manager under the contract with GovTempsUSA.

Shanahan returned to his former duties until last week, when he was fired by Jones after a council meeting at which the mayor called for the city to renew a city manager search that has been on hold since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

O'Dekirk told the search committee that even the interim city manager should be a Joliet employee, contending Jones is not bound by the city's ethics ordinance because he works as an outside contractor.

"He doesn't answer to the city of Joliet," O'Dekirk said. "He's not responsible to any of us."

"Do you have someone in mind?" Councilman Michael Turk asked in regards to the mayor's suggestion that a city employee be put in the job.

"Yeah," O'Dekirk replied.

The committee then went into closed session for about 15 minutes to discuss the matter. No names were mentioned when they came out.

O'Dekirk said the matter would be discussed again Monday when the council meets for its pre-council workshop meeting.

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