News - Joliet and Will County

Jones could fill Joliet city manager job for another year

Interim City Manager Steve Jones

Interim City Manager Steve Jones could stay on the job for another year after yet another twist in the saga over the future of the top administrative position in Joliet city government.

The future of the city manager job became the top issue at the City Council meeting Tuesday when a vote on the controversial NorthPoint Development project was tabled until April 7.

The council was to vote on a consultant firm to be used in a second search for a city manager, a position that has been filled on an interim basis since David Hales left in mid-contract in October 2018.

But in a familiar 5-3 split, the council voted to table an executive search while exploring an offer from Jones to stay on the job until the next city elections in 2021.

Councilman Pat Mudron proposed tabling the vote so the council could discuss the offer from Jones.

“I think we need to hear from Steve Jones,” Mudron said, adding that the council should meet in closed session to consider keeping Jones on the job.

The decision was criticized by Mayor Bob O’Dekirk who repeatedly said the council was choosing to keep a part-time city manager on the job.

“I do believe he’s doing a fine job,” O’Dekirk said. “It doesn’t change the fact that he’s not a full-time employee.”

Council members backing Jones repeatedly said he is a full-time employee as the mayor claimed his contract limits him to 35 hours a week.

Jones after the meeting said he is working more than 50 hours a week but only billing the city for what’s allowed in his contract. He is working as an independent contractor on an agreement that limits the number of hours the city pays for his services.

“It would appear that I will have to give a copy of the contracting agreement to some of our elected officials who have either forgotten or chosen to misconstrue the nature of my contracting agreement,” Jones said.

The City Council last month approved Jones’ contract in a 5-3 split in which the opposition immediately began making the case that he would be working part-time hours.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News