December 10, 2023
Local News

O'Dekirk plans to fill Joliet City Council vacancy next week

Dickinson officially sends in letter of resignation

Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk

Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk said he plans to quickly appoint a replacement for the City Council vacancy left by Don "Duck" Dickinson who officially submitted his letter of resignation Monday after saying last week he would step down.

O'Dekirk said Monday he would have an appointment ready for the council to approve at its meeting next week.

Dickinson sent his letter of resignation to the city clerk via his attorney, Frank Andreano.

The one-sentence letter simply reads, "I hereby resign the Office of the Councilman At Large for the City of Joliet."

O'Dekirk said there was "a lot of interest" in filling the position and that some individuals had already reached out to him about the vacancy.

The city's code of ordinances dictate that the mayor has to appoint someone to fill a vacancy on the council within 60 days of the vacancy occurring. The council would then have to approve the replacement.

Dickinson's resignation came just weeks after he read from a written statement during a Nov. 2 council meeting and said he had been subject to harassment and blackmail over a personal relationship.

That same day, he filed a police report alleging intimidation concerning a nude photo of himself, which Dickinson said he had been told had been obtained by O'Dekirk. The mayor has denied the allegation and said he has never seen such photos of Dickinson.

Dickinson was elected to an at-large seat on the City Council in 2017 and was still in his first term in office when he announced he would resign. He had already said he wouldn't run for reelection next April.

At least 20 people have already taken out petitions as potential candidates for three open at-large seats on the City Council.

O'Dekirk said he would likely not pick anyone who was running for a council spot to fill the vacancy.

"That was a thought, but I think some people would cry foul," he said.

Councilman Larry Hug said Monday he also thought O'Dekirk should not pick any of the potential 2021 candidates.

Hug said a full council was needed to address several key issues, such as approving a new drinking water source and restarting the NorthPoint annexation process.

"We have several big decisions that need to be made," he said.

O'Dekirk said he's twice been involved in filling a vacancy on the council, first in 2014 as a councilman when then-Mayor Tom Giarrante appointed Bettye Gavin and in 2016 when he appointed Brooke Hernandez-Brewer. Both times, O'Dekirk said, he remembers there being no issues approving the appointments.

The mayor also appeared to suggest that replacing Dickinson would bring about "positive movement" on the City Council.

"I think a lot of the political nonsense is going to come to an end," he said. "I think the play time is going to be over and we'll get back to business."

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.