News - Joliet and Will County

Future of Joliet city manager said to be uncertain

Hales still in first year of three-year contract

Joliet City Manager David Hales listens to public comment July 17 during a Joliet City Council meeting at City Hall in Joliet.

City Manager David Hales’ future in Joliet may be up in the air.

Sources said that the City Council has begun to consider the prospect of Hales leaving before the end of his contract and possibly before the end of the year.

Hales and council members either would not comment or said they did not know of any plans for the city manager to leave.

But according to sources, Hales’ future was the subject of a closed session after a council meeting last week.

One source said the council will begin considering an exit strategy for the city manager, hoping to keep Hales on board at least until the 2019 budget has been put together.

Hales would only say that he was aware of rumors regarding his future but would not discuss whether he has intentions to leave.

“I hear so many rumors like that in this city that sometimes I just have to block them out,” Hales said. “I just don’t have any comment on that.”

Hales was hired last year on a three-year contract paying a salary of $215,000. He started in November.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk could not be reached for comment.

Council members either would not comment or said were not aware of the possibility Hales may leave.

“I haven’t heard anything about it,” Council member Michael Turk said.

“It’s a personnel matter,” Council member John Gerl said, adding he would not comment on personnel issues.

“I can’t really comment on that now,” Council member Don Dickinson said.

Hales came to Joliet from Bloomington, where he was city manager. He replaced Jim Hock, who gave one-month notice before leaving in May 2017. Hock, who was 62 at the time, said he had decided to retire. But he currently is a finalist for a job as interim city manager in Marco Island, Florida.

At least six other top administrators have retired in the past year with the biggest vacancies occurring in the police department.

Former Chief Brian Benton in August announced he would retire in November but took unused leave time to depart a few weeks later.

Interim Police Chief Al Roechner replaced Benton, leaving his position as deputy chief of investigations. All four deputy chief positions are now vacant after the three others retired, the most recent being Ed Gregory.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News