Joliet city manager awaits his fate

Capparelli serving on short-term contract after April 4 election

City Manager James Capparelli listens to a speaker at the Joliet City Council meeting on Tuesday. Tuesday, July 19, 2022 in Joliet.

Joliet City Manager James Capparelli should find out Tuesday if the City Council plans to keep him around.

The City Council met in closed session after its workshop meeting Monday, and Capparelli did not join them as he usually would. He expected to be a topic of the conversation.

Capparelli is operating on a six-month contract that expires July 12, and new Mayor Terry D’Arcy has said the city manager position should be opened up to applicants.

Capparelli has offered to stay another six months while a candidate search is conducted, but said he has asked the council for some direction.

“It was mutual,” he said. “We need to figure this out. The clock is ticking.”

Does he expect to know by Tuesday?

“I have no idea,” Capparelli said. “They might not say anything. They may say they haven’t decided.”

There has been talk that the council may bring in someone local to act as interim city manager while a search is conducted. Such an arrangement, however, could be reminiscent of the revolving door at the city manager’s office before Capparelli was hired in January 2021.

The City Council went through three interim city managers after buying out David Hales’ contract in October 2018, before he finished one year on the job.

Capparelli, a private Joliet attorney with past military leadership experience but no previous resume in city government, has never had full support from the council in votes on his previous two contract, both of which were one-year agreements. The decision to give Capparelli a six-month contract put his job on the line depending on the results of the April 4 election.

When D’Arcy was elected over former Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, Capparelli lost probably his strongest supporter.

Capparelli, however, said, “I get along fine” with the new council. “I like Mayor D’Arcy,” he added.

“At the end of the day, I am a good government person,” he said. “I’m going to do what I can to help the city.”