Joliet Councilman Dickinson: 'I've had enough'

Council member Don “Duck” Dickinson is no longer considering a run for reelection.

“I’ve had enough,” Dickinson said Friday.

Dickinson, at a Monday council meeting, made a statement saying he had been the subject of harassment and even blackmail related to a personal relationship he had "a few years ago" with a "consenting adult."

Earlier in the day, he had filed a police report connecting Mayor Bob O'Dekirk to what Dickinson alleged had been intimidation going back to March involving nude photos of himself.

O’Dekirk has denied the allegation, calling it “outrageous” and saying it amounts to a false allegation that was criminal in itself.

Despite the acknowledgement that he had exchanged potentially compromising photos, Dickinson said he has received support for opening up about the situation this week.

“I’ve had a lot of residents backing me – mostly positive stuff,” he said.

On Monday, Dickinson said he was even reconsidering his decision announced in August to not run for reelection. But no longer.

“I’m not going to run,” Dickinson said Friday.

Dickinson said he planned to fill out his term and continue attending council meetings.

But he was guarded in what he said in a brief phone interview about his allegations, including just what he meant by being blackmailed.

He would not comment on whether there was any specific threat or whether there was any particular vote or action taken because of a threat, saying the matter was now one of a police investigation.

“I really don’t have any comment,” he said. “It was always on my mind.”

The one issue in which Dickinson said his votes were not affected by intimidation was that of the city manager.

The City Council has been divided for a year and a half on city manager questions, although it was unanimous in approving the current interim city manager, Jim Hock.

But Joliet has not had a permanent city manager in place since David Hales left in October 2018 with a buyout after less than a year on the job.

The city manager issue in Joliet is significant, because the city operates on a city manager form of government designed to provide some insulation from mayoral and City Council politics.

Dickinson has been part of a council majority that has lined up against the mayor and other council members on several city manager votes since the majority blocked Martin Shanahan from getting the job in May 2019.

Shanahan was fired as the city attorney in May and this week filed a lawsuit against the city and former interim City Manager Steve Jones alleging wrongful and retaliatory termination.

The O’Dekirk faction, including council member Larry Hug, had expected Dickinson to vote on a payout agreement for Shanahan designed to avert the lawsuit.

When Dickinson voted against it, Hug called out Dickinson, saying he had switched Monday from a commitment made previously in an executive session of the council to vote for the payout.

“I really want an explanation, Councilman Dickinson,” Hug said during the open meeting.

Dickinson’s answer suggested he was confused about what they were voting on.

Asked Friday whether the Shanahan payout was one of those matters in which he felt subject to intimidation, Dickinson didn’t offer much more clarity.

“No comment,” he said.