Joliet City Council to give Jim Hock interview for interim city manager job

Joliet City Council still grappling with city manager ‘chaos’

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Former Joliet City Manager Jim Hock will be invited to interview for the interim city manager job that opened up last week.

The city council met Monday, displaying in full their division over the removal of interim City Manager Martin Shanahan before agreeing to talk to Hock about the job.

At one point, Councilwoman Bettye Gavin described developments since the vote last week to remove Shanahan as "crazy."

“There are people spreading rumors around here that Mr. Hock is being brought it to bust the union,” council member Michael Turk said. “I don’t know where it’s coming from.”

Hudson Hollister, a Joliet resident present at the meeting, told the council that with the situation the majority “have engineered, we’re not getting continuity. We’re getting chaos.”

What happens next might depend on how Hock’s interview goes.

Hock could be interviewed as early as Monday or Tuesday when the city council next meets.

Council member Pat Mudron opened the special meeting Monday saying, “There seems to be great confusion out there how Jim Hock’s name came to be about.”

Mudron had called for the special meeting to discuss hiring Hock last week after joining a 5-3 majority vote to remove Shanahan from the position.

Mudron called Hock to determine whether he was interested because he said the former city manager appeared to satisfy two concerns facing the council: whether staff could be involved in the process of hiring a city manager while Shanahan, a candidate, was in the job as an interim; and whether another interim would fill the position unfamiliar with the city.

“I thought Hock would be a possibility,” Mudron said. “He could fill those roles because he’s been here before.”

Whether Shanahan needed to be removed so the council could begin a candidate search continued to be in question Monday night.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said he had announced June 4 that he would create a three-person council committee to conduct a candidate search for the job until “five emails came in overturning what we decided to do.”

The five council members who voted to remove Shanahan – Mudron, Gavin, Turk, Don Dickinson and Sherri Reardon – sent emails with identical or nearly identical wording calling for Shanahan’s removal to be put on the June 18 agenda.

Shanahan was removed. Deputy City Manager Steve Jones was put in the interim position. Mudron announced that he had talked to Hock, who had expressed interest in taking the position.

Councilman Larry Hug said he would oppose Hock.

“I don’t like double-dipping,” Hug said. “That’s why I can’t support Mr. Hock. He’s already collecting a pension. Now he wants to come back and get some more money.”

Hock, who was not at the meeting, told The Herald-News in a phone interview Monday that he would be available “as soon as they want me. I’m not doing anything now.”

Hock retired from his job in Joliet in May 2017.

Asked if the controversy swirling around the position would affect his interest in returning to Joliet, Hock said, “No, it shouldn’t.”

Shanahan previously had been serving his second stint as interim city manager. He took over after Hock retired and before the city hired David Hales. Hales left in October after less than a year on the job, and Shanahan again stepped in.

Shanahan, who has returned to his regular duties as city attorney, has said he still plans to be a candidate for the city manager job.

O’Dekirk, who wanted to promote Shanahan to the job without a candidate process, said Monday that Hock is “obviously capable for the job. So is Marty Shanahan.”