Joliet City Manager Capparelli resigns

Finance Director Kevin Sing becomes interim city manager

Joliet City Manager James Capparelli talks to guest after the Mayor of Joliet’s annual State of the City address at Harrah’s. Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2022, in Joliet.

James Capparelli no longer is city manager in Joliet.

Capparelli said he gave his resignation at Mayor Terry D’Arcy’s request Tuesday morning.

“I am no longer employed by the city of Joliet,” Capparelli said in a phone interview. “The City Council decided that they wanted to move quickly. They asked for my resignation, which I tendered.”

Mayor Terry D’Arcy issued a statement saying that Finance Director Kevin Sing, who was village administrator in Manhattan before coming to Joliet, will “fill in” as city manager and that a search for a new city manager will be conducted.

I am no longer employed by the city of Joliet in a phone interview. The City Council decided that they wanted to move quickly. They asked for my resignation, which I tendered.”

—  James Capparelli, former Joliet city manager

D’Arcy’s statement cast a different light on events leading up to Capparelli’s departure.

The mayor said the City Council was willing to keep Capparelli on the job while a search was conducted for the next city manager, but an agreement could not be worked out.

Mayor candidate Terry D’Arcy talks to a guest at the Joliet Mayoral Candidate Panel luncheon hosted by the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, March 8th, 2023 at the Clarion Hotel & Convention Center Joliet.

Capparelli’s contract was set to expire July 12.

“Mr. Capparelli wanted to extend his contract beyond his end date of July 12, and he was well aware the city was going to do a search for a city manager and he was welcome to apply,” D’Arcy said in the written statement.

“The city council made him an offer to continue working during the search,” D’Arcy said. “Mr. Capparelli made a counteroffer to the City Council and the offer was rejected. This morning, Mr. Capparelli gave me his resignation.”

D’Arcy also said that Capparelli “told me on several occasions that he has other offers, so we thank him for his service and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Capparelli said he did not have any immediate plans for his future.

“Being city manager is a high-stress job,” he said. “I’m going to decompress for a little bit before I decide what to do.”

Joliet Finance Director Kevin Sing arrives at his seat for the City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Sing was named Tuesday as interim city manager after James Capparelli's resignation.

The future of Capparelli’s job was doubtful when D’Arcy was elected mayor on April 4, defeating Mayor Bob O’Dekirk. O’Dekirk was Capparelli’s biggest supporter for the job, which he held since January 2021.

D’Arcy said during the campaign that he wanted to conduct a city manager search, adding that Capparelli would be welcome to apply.

However, the council was unwilling to commit to keeping Capparelli on the job for another six months while doing the search.

Capparelli was on a six-month contract designed in part to give a new mayor and City Council an option to replace him after the April 4 city election. He previously had two one-year contracts and never had full council support.

He had asked for another six-month extension.

Councilman Pat Mudron said “multiple offers” were made between Capparelli and the council. The council offered a month-to-month contract extension but was not willing to provide Capparelli with another six-month contract, he said.

“It was said from the beginning that we’re going to go out for a national search, but we’re not going to extend your contract for another six months,” Mudron said.

Joliet city manager James Capparerlli poses for a portrait on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, at Joliet City Hall in Joliet, Ill.

The City Council was in the midst of conducting a city manager search that was abandoned when Capparelli was hired in 2021. At that time, Jim Hock, the third interim city manager for Joliet in a little more than two years, gave notice he was leaving, and the council put Capparelli in the job.

Capparelli, a private attorney in Joliet at the time he was made city manager, did not have previous experience in municipal government. But he had previous leadership positions in the military and worked as an administrator at the Pentagon.

“I’m grateful for the time I spent there,” Capparelli said of his time as city manager, adding that the request for his resignation “was done in a professional manner.”

The resignation came after the City Council met in closed session on Monday night and discussed Capparelli’s future employment.

A search for the next city manager has not begun but apparently will be done.

“Right now, It seems that the council is on board with a search,” Councilman Larry Hug said.