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Opinion

Joliet City Council election full of possibilities

City Hall in Joliet.
City Hall in Joliet.

It’s interesting to think of the possibilities if Marty Shanahan is elected to the City Council in April.

If Shanahan were to be the only new member elected, he would be enough to change a five-member majority that has thwarted Mayor Bob O’Dekirk’s will on city manager issues and removed Shanahan when he had the job on an interim basis.

Shanahan this week took out petitions to run for one of the three at-large seats on the ballot on April 6.

At-large Councilman Don Dickinson isn’t running again, and he has been one of the majority of five.

So has at-large Councilman Michael Turk, who said he plans to run again but has not yet taken out petitions.

At-large Councilwoman Jan Quillman, an ally of the mayor on city manager issues and a big booster for Shanahan when he wanted the job, has taken out petitions.

If the 5-3 council split turns to 4-4, that gives the mayor the tie-breaking vote that he has not had on a number of disputes over who should be city manager.

The next city manager

And who will be the next city manager?

The city is in the middle of a search process now that is scheduled to be concluded in December.

“The resumes are due Sept. 30,” Turk said.

Turk is a member of the council’s Ad Hoc City Manager Search Committee that has been in place for more than a year as the council went through one search without finding a candidate and is now on its second.

Search firm Slavin Management Consultants is advising that the process should be concluded by the end of this year.

“In November, we should be able to do interviews and at least have somebody under contract (by December),” Turk said, acknowledging it may take a few more weeks before that person leaves a current job and moves into the Joliet city manager office.

That could mean the question of who should be the next city manager, which has lingered over City Hall for nearly two years now, will be settled before the next election.

Maybe.

But if the City Council does hire someone, it will be interesting to see what job security clauses are in the contract.

The other candidates

Shanahan and Quillman weren’t the only candidates to take out petitions.

Others as of late Thursday afternoon are James Lanham, Cesar Guerrero, Hudson Hollister, Isiah Williams Jr., Glenda Wright-McCullum and Brian Bettenhausen.

“I compliment everyone who runs. It’s not an easy thing to do,” O’Dekirk said, noting the challenges and criticism that come with seeking public office.

Rumors have it that there may be other big names to come as well – some allied with the mayor and at least one against. But we’ll see what happens.

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