Joliet plans to hire Tonelli as interim city manager

Tonelli would be paid to come in, while Capparelli is being paid through the end of his contract in July

Rod Tonelli, seen speaking in his capacity as chairman of the Joliet City Center Partnership at an event on June 1, would be hired as interim city manager for Joliet, according to an agreement that goes to the City Council for a vote at a special meeting on Friday.

Joliet now plans to hire Rod Tonelli, a licensed planner who also serves as chairman of the Joliet City Center Partnership, to step in as interim city manager.

I’d like to see us have someone here in two months – three at the top,”

—  Joliet Mayor, Terry D'Arcy

Tonelli would be paid at an annual rate of $174,000 and would be hired for at least three months, according to an agreement that goes to the City Council for a vote at a special meeting Friday.

The arrangement with Tonelli was been set up one day after former City Manager James Capparelli left the job as the council refused to extend his contract for six months while beginning a search for a city manager.

Capparelli left Tuesday morning, and the city put out the announcement Wednesday afternoon of a special meeting to include a vote on the Tonelli contract.

City Manager Jim Capparelli listens to council discussion on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at Joliet City Hall in Joliet, Ill. The Joliet City Council discussed an amendment to allow for liquor consumption and video gambling at gas stations.

The council at the special meeting also will vote on a separation agreement that will pay Capparelli for the remainder of his contract, which runs through July 12.

The city in effect would be paying for two city managers for almost a month. The agreement with Tonelli is scheduled to start Friday.

Tonelli would replace Kevin Sing, the city’s finance director who was made interim city manager Tuesday when Capparelli left.

Mayor Terry D’Arcy said Tuesday that the city planned to hire someone to come in as interim city manager, allowing Sing to return to his normal duties, while looking for a new city manager.

D’Arcy said he did not expect the search to be a prolonged process.

“I’d like to see us have someone here in two months – three at the top,” he said.

The agreement with Tonelli employs him for at least three months and provides for him to continue working on a month-to-month basis after that if needed.

Tonelli while a licensed planner, has served as temporary economic development director for municipalities. He was the interim economic development director for Joliet for several months in 2022 before Cesar Suarez was hired for the position.

At the special meeting Friday, the council also is slated to vote on an agreement to hire Northbrook-based GovHR to conduct a national search for a new city manager.

Tonelli, as chairman of the Joliet City Center Partnership, heads the board of the organization that promotes business and activities in downtown Joliet.