News - Joliet and Will County

O’Dekirk to appoint Joliet police board commissioner to City Council vacancy

Commissioner Todd Wooten listens to Fire Chief Joe Formhals on Monday, April 8, 2019, in Joliet, Ill.

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk will appoint Todd Wooten, a commissioner on the city’s fire and police board, to fill a vacancy on the City Council at its next meeting next week.

Wooten's name appears on the agenda for next week's meeting for the appointment to the at-large seat that was held by Don "Duck" Dickinson until he resigned this week.

Dickinson missed both the precouncil meeting and council meeting last week before announcing his plan to resign.

A police report, which mentions a possible suicide note, shows someone was picked up by an ambulance at Dickinson's home Nov. 16, the day of the precouncil meeting, and transported to AMITA Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet.

Dickinson's cellphone has been out of service since Nov. 16.

Three weeks prior to his resignation, Dickinson’s read from a written statement during the 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.

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.

O'Dekirk said this week he would have a replacement ready for the council to vote on by the Dec. 1 meeting.

Wooten, 57, said he had spoken to O'Dekirk about the vacancy and told the mayor he'd be honored to serve. He said he has no aspirations to seek higher office, but looks forward to learning more about how city government works.

"I'd like to go in with a clean slate," he said. "It's a complex job."

He added that he's had good relationships with several of the sitting City Council members.

Wooten said he worked for the Joliet Fire Department for over 20 years. He also served in the Marines.

He was first appointed to the fire and police board in 2015. The board approves police and fire department hiring and promotions and reviews disciplinary matters.

Wooten also authored the books "White Men Can't Hump (As Good as Black Men)," volumes I and II.

“The author fights to flip the narrative and show Black America that they have nothing to be ashamed of, all the while showing White America (those who peddle these negative viewpoints and pander to racist viewpoints) that it is their own insecurity and hatred that has made this narrative, not the other way around,” reads the Amazon synopsis for both volumes.

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.