Joliet getting close to deciding new city manager

City down to a ‘handful’ of candidates

Joliet Municipal Building on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023.

The city of Joliet’s latest search for a city manager appears to be reaching a decision point.

“I’d like to see something announced by Nov. 1,” Mayor Terry D’Arcy said Friday.

D’Arcy would not confirm whether the City Council has been interviewing candidates, a matter typically done in executive sessions closed to the public. But his comments indicated that the council is talking to finalists for the job.

“We’ve narrowed it down to a handful, and we’re working through that now,” D’Arcy said.

Council member Jan Quillman also appeared to suggest that a decision is near this week when she called for a hiring freeze until the new city manager is in place.

“With the new city manager coming in permanently, they may want to build their own team,” Quillman said at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Council at Large Jan Hallums Quillman sits in on a hearing on the validity of nominating petitions of two City Council candidates at the Joliet City Electoral Board meeting on January 4th.

Quillman’s comment appeared especially pertinent to the city attorney position, which has been open since Sabrina Spano left in July.

Interim city attorney Rod Tonelli told the council this week that interviews have begun for the position.

But Tonelli is not likely to name the new city attorney unless he is chosen as the permanent city manager.

D’Arcy said he agreed with Quillman at least in terms of hiring of a city attorney, which he, too, believed should be a decision made by the next city manager.

Tonelli, who became interim city manager in June, is believed to be among the candidates for the job, although D’Arcy would not confirm that.

Tonelli became interim city manager after the resignation of James Capparelli, who became the first permanent city manager in more than two years when he was hired in January 2021.

City Manager Rod Tonelli sits in on the Joliet City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023.

Joliet had operated under three interim city managers from October 2018 until Capparelli was hired during a standoff in the City Council under previous Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, who supported Capparelli.

Capparelli resigned as D’Arcy, who took office in May after defeating O’Dekirk in the April election, made clear that he wanted to conduct a search for a city manager.

Under Joliet’s city manager form of government, the City Council only hires or fires the city manager. All other positions, including city attorney, are under the control of the city manager.

Even so, the City Council is sending a message that it does not want a city attorney hired by Tonelli while he is serving as interim city manager.

D’Arcy said he talked with Quillman before the Tuesday council meeting about her statement calling for a hold on hirings.

“I agreed,” he said.