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Local News

Councilman Dickinson missing meetings, officials mystified

Joliet City Council member Don “Duck” Dickinson
Joliet City Council member Don “Duck” Dickinson

City officials apparently have lost contact with Councilman Don "Duck" Dickinson, who has not attended a council meeting since Nov. 2 when he made a statement that he has been the subject of harassment and blackmail.

Dickinson that same day filed a complaint with Joliet police alleging he has been the victim of intimidation involving nude photos of himself and a threat by Mayor Bob O'Dekirk .

O'Dekirk has denied the allegation.

Dickinson has suggested feelings of stress over his continuing role on the City Council.

"I've had enough," he told The Herald-News two weeks ago when asked if was reconsidering a decision announced in August not to run for re-election in April. Dickinson, however, said he planned to finish his term of office.

Rumors have been circulating about possible police and ambulance reports made this week concerning Dickinson although not of a criminal nature. The Herald-News is trying to obtain the reports.

Dickinson has not been available for comment and has reportedly changed his cellphone number.

"I got the same message you did regarding a disconnected cellphone that is no longer in service," interim City Manager Jim Hock said Thursday.

"I've been trying to get ahold of him. I haven't heard anything at all," Hock said. "Everybody wonders where he was Monday and Tuesday."

The council held its scheduled pre-council and regular meetings on Monday and Tuesday, which Dickinson did not attend. He also did not attend a special meeting of the City Council on Thursday.

Hock said city officials are unable to reach Dickinson.

Dickinson did leave a voicemail with Councilman Michael Turk on Monday telling him he would not be at the meetings.

"He left me a message and said, 'Can you contact the city clerk's office and tell them I won't be there Monday and Tuesday?'" Turk said. "That was it. I haven't heard anything since."

Turk said Dickinson did not indicate then or during a phone conversation earlier Monday why he would not be at the meetings.

Turk said he called Dickinson earlier Monday to let him know that council members would be able to attend meetings remotely again, an allowance made because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They both had used the remote option when it was employed earlier in the year for council meetings.

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk alluded to a police report when asked about Dickinson after the council meeting on Monday.

"I haven't seen the police report," O'Dekirk said, adding he would not comment further.

Officials have confirmed that there are police and fire department reports concerning Dickinson but have not made them available. The Herald-News has filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the reports.

Dickinson read from a written statement near the end of the Nov. 2 council meeting saying he had been the subject of harassment.

“Over the last six months I have been put in a position that has been very uncomfortable for me with my role on the council," he said. "This has affected all the decisions that I need to make to help the city of Joliet move forward.”

Dickinson said he has been “harassed, badgered, tormented and now blackmailed unfairly.”

He did not mention O'Dekirk or details of the alleged harassment in the statement.

In the police report, Dickinson said that in March the mayor at one point in a closed session of the council told him, "And you Dickinson, the truth is going to come out about you." Dickinson said he was later advised the mayor had nude photos of him.

O'Dekirk has denied seeing nude photos of Dickinson and contended Dickinson should be charged criminally with filing a false police report.

Dickinson has said he had exchanged photos with a woman with whom he had had a relationship a few years ago.

“Photos were sent between us, for us and for us only," he said in his statement. "This issue is being held over my head.”

The Herald-News on Wednesday tried to interview Dickinson at his home but was told he was not there. More information was not provided, and a message was left for him to call.

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