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Local News

Joliet council considers interim city manager contract for Hock

Vote could be Tuesday on interim city manager

Jim Hock speaks to The Herald-News on July 1 after a pre-City Council meeting at City Hall in Joliet. The council is slated to vote Tuesday on bringing back Jim Hock as interim city manager.
Jim Hock speaks to The Herald-News on July 1 after a pre-City Council meeting at City Hall in Joliet. The council is slated to vote Tuesday on bringing back Jim Hock as interim city manager.

The Joliet City Council went into closed session Monday night to discuss a contract that would bring back Jim Hock as interim city manager.

A vote on the contract is on the agenda for the council meeting Tuesday.

Details of the proposed contract were not available, although some council members have said previously that Hock was looking to be paid at a rate of $215,000 a year, the salary paid to the city’s last permanent city manager.

Hock retired as Joliet’s city manager in May 2017.

He was in the council chambers as the city council went into closed session.

“I’m just here in case they want to talk with me,” Hock said.

Asked how much he was looking to get paid, Hock said, “I can’t tell you that.”

The potential cost of bringing Hock back was the subject of one commenter during the open session of the council meeting.

Mary Beth Gannon. who has been speaking regularly at council meetings on the city manager issue, suggested that the five council members believed to support hiring Hock give up their pay to help fund his salary.

“The vote for Mr. Hock is political suicide,” Gannon said.

The city manager issue has divided the council.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and three council members in May wanted to promote Martin Shanahan, the city attorney who had been serving as interim city manager since October, to permanent city manager.

But a five-member majority opted for a candidate search and in June removed Shanahan as interim city manager. Deputy City Manager Steve Jones has since filled in but has expressed reluctance to do the job long term and a preference for returning to his regular duties, which focused on economic development.

The city has not yet started a candidate search and has not had a permanent city manager since David Hales left in October after less than a year on the job.

The council on Tuesday also will vote on job descriptions for city manager and interim city manager, which were the target of criticism Monday by another commenter, John Sheridan.

Noting that deputy city manager job duties include filling city manager vacancies, Sheridan asked the council why they would create a job description for interim city manager “when you already have one.”

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