News - Joliet and Will County

Joliet plans to hire recruitment firm to find city manager

Joliet water tower

JOLIET – The City Council plans to repeat the process used to hire City Manager Jim Hock in finding his replacement.

The council at a special meeting Wednesday agreed to hire a recruitment firm to conduct a nationwide search to find candidates for the next city manager.

Then the council met in closed session to discuss what to do in the meantime, since Hock plans to retire May 3 and the search is likely to take at least three months.

No decision was made, and the matter probably will be discussed again at next week’s council meetings, council members said.

Hock, 62, informed the mayor and council members late Thursday afternoon that he will retire, a decision that they all said caught them by surprise.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk called for the special meeting, which he started off by noting that the last city manager search took about six months and then added, “I thought we should jump on it right away.”

Hock told the council that the search could be somewhat shortened this time if the city hires the same search firm, GovHR USA out of Northbrook.

He said the firm has estimated the search would take about three months.

Some time will be cut off, he said, because GovHR USA already did a community profile of Joliet, which is part of the recruitment process, three years ago when Hock was hired. However, once a candidate is found, there will be some time needed to negotiate a contract and for the new city manager to give notice to his or her employer, Hock said.

The council likely will get started Tuesday, when it will vote on whether to hire GovHR USA again.

The sentiment expressed Thursday was to do that.

“They did a great job last time,” Councilman Larry Hug said. “Why reinvent the wheel?”

Other council members also said they were satisfied with the results when the city hired Hock.

GovHR USA has estimated a price of $21,000 for the recruitment.

Hock’s regular pay in 2016 was nearly $188,000. Stipends and other income brought his gross pay to just under $196,000, according to the city’s Payroll Summary Report.

Hock has said there is the possibility that he will stay in some capacity during the transition to a new city manager.

But council members met in closed session during the special meeting to discuss the possibilities of hiring an interim city manager.

O’Dekirk said the council would need to decide whether it wants to hire someone on staff now or from outside to serve in the interim capacity.

Council members after the closed session said no decision was made and the matter likely was to be taken up again when the council meets for its workshop and regular meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News