Joliet council to vote on inspector general changes

Revision comes amid challenges to inspector general’s authority

joliet, government

The Joliet City Council will vote Tuesday on whether to put hiring and firing authority over the inspector general in the hands of the city manager instead of the mayor.

A council committee last week voted 2-1 to move the proposal forward to the council for a vote with a recommendation for approval.

Interim City Attorney Todd Greenburg recommended the change, saying that the current process of hiring and firing authority with the mayor and City Council violates state law.

Greenburg told the Land Use and Legislative Committee on Thursday that he recommended the change based on Illinois Supreme Court rulings and a 1950s referendum in Joliet establishing a city manager form of government.

“The voters back in 1955 said this is a city manager form of government, and the hiring and firing is done by the city manager,” Greenburg told the committee.

Greenburg said that he made the recommendation after getting a letter from the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The state’s attorney, along with the Illinois attorney general, are embroiled in a lawsuit with Joliet Inspector General Sean Connolly, who has issued subpoenas for information related to his investigation into a 2020 police report filed against former Mayor Bob O’Dekirk.

Connolly issued a report in March describing the police report as the product of a conspiracy aimed at eroding O’Dekirk’s position as mayor.

Greenburg told the committee that he’s “not necessarily endorsing everything that was in the state’s attorney’s letter,” but said he does agree with the state’s attorney’s position that the inspector general does not have the authority to file lawsuits.

He said the state Supreme Court ruled in a case involving the Chicago inspector general that lawsuits needed to go through the city attorney’s office.

Land Use and Legislative Committee Chairwoman Jan Quillman was the dissenting vote, saying she thought the city should wait until the lawsuit in Will County Circuit Court is decided before changing its ordinance.

“I want to see exactly what the court says,” Quillman said.

Committee members Sherri Reardon and Cesar Guerrero voted to recommend the ordinance change.