Joliet council votes Tuesday on city manager

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An attempt is underway to remove Martin Shanahan as interim city manager in Joliet.

The City Council is slated to vote Tuesday on whether to relieve Shanahan of his duties as interim city manager.

The vote comes at a time when Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and a minority on the City Council have been trying to make Shanahan city manager on a permanent basis.

But a council majority has favored opening the job for applicants.

That same majority of five council members requested that next week's council agenda include an item
to relieve Shanahan of his duties
as interim city manager, sources said.

Councilman Pat Mudron, one of the five who want the process open, said the vote Tuesday is related to inaction on opening up the application process for a permanent city manager.

“They’ve done nothing now for close to a month and a half. I don’t know that they have any plans to do anything,” Mudron said.

Shanahan said he has never been instructed to start a candidate search.

“Nobody asked me to do it,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan said he has not been involved in closed session meetings on the city manager job because he was a likely applicant for the position.

The council openly debated the future of the city manager job May 7 when O'Dekirk and three council members said Shanahan should be hired for the position.

But other council members either said they wanted to open up the process or said nothing before they went into closed session to discuss the matter.

After that meeting, councilwoman Bettye Gavin, who had been advocating for an open process, said a consensus was reached to begin advertising for candidates. But O'Dekirk said no consensus was reached, and no decision on what to do has been made since.

“I was not involved in that closed session,” Shanahan said.

He also said that he continues to want to hold the job on a permanent basis.

Shanahan was city attorney before he took over as interim city manager.

The vote Tuesday is not to fire Shanahan as a city employee, so presumably he could resume being city attorney. The council voted to make him interim city manager.

Councilman Michael Turk would not comment Thursday.

O’Dekirk and other council members could not be reached.

At the last City Council meeting June 4, O’Dekirk said he may form a committee to explore the matter. He also said the city may have to hire outside attorneys and hiring professionals if a search is done because it would be a conflict for any city employees to be involved in the process since they work for Shanahan.

Joliet has not had a permanent city manager in place since October when David Hales left after less than a year on the job.

The mayor and council initially put off a decision on what to do about the city manager position until a new council was in place after the April 2 election.

One new member, Sherri Reardon, joined the council.

Reardon has said she wants the position open to applicants, so have Mudron, Turk and Gavin. Councilman Don “Duck” Dickinson has not commented but is believed to support opening the job to applicants.

Council members Jan Quillman, Larry Hug and Terry Morris have advocated for hiring Shanahan.