Warren Dorris, a former councilman who has called for the mayor's resignation, announced Thursday that he will run for Joliet City Council.
Dorris, a onetime mayoral candidate, said he could bring experience and direction to what he described as chaotic conditions at City Hall.
"Joliet has become the laughing stock of the state of Illinois," Dorris said, recounting comments he heard about Joliet city politics during a recent trip to Peoria.
Dorris was a longtime councilman before he made an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2011, coming in second to Tom Giarrante in a field of nine candidates. The April ballot for three open at-large seats on the City Council is likely to be a crowded one as well with more than 20 people having taken out petitions as potential candidates.
"There is no direction at City Hall," Dorris said. "No one has the experience that I have. No one has the vision that I have. I think they need someone to come in who understands what direction the city needs to go in."
The city has been rife with controversy over a number of issues in which Dorris at times has taken a role.
He was among a group of pastors who called on Mayor Bob O'Dekirk to resign after the mayor's involvement in a scuffle with two protesters at a Black Lives Matter rally in May. He later joined pastors in presenting a video showing O'Dekirk when he was a Joliet police officer pulling one man to the ground while he was in handcuffs and tackling another from behind while arrests were being made at a park.
Dorris also is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit trying to prevent a Love's Travel Stop from being built at the Briggs Street interchange with Interstate 80 and was among community leaders opposing NorthPoint Development's Compass Global Logistics Hub.
Dorris is pastor of the Prayer Tower Church of God in Christ in Joliet and a former manager at the Caterpillar plant in Joliet.
Despite calling for O'Dekirk's resignation, Dorris said he would work with the mayor on issues in which they agree, but added, "I will step up and hold him accountable."
O'Dekirk did not return a call for comment.
Building trade unions that can influence city elections are likely to oppose Dorris over his positions on NorthPoint and Love's. Both projects had union support.
Dorris said those unions will put money into the election but many of their members don't live in Joliet.
"At the end of the day, only the residents of the city of Joliet will have a vote," he said, "and I think the residents are fed up with what they've seen."