Joliet releases the inspector general’s report on museum

Report lays out personnel issues and looks at financial matters

The city of Joliet posted the inspector general’s report on the Joliet Area Historical Museum hours before the City Council votes Tuesday on whether to provide the museum with $250,000 in funding this year.

The report recommends that the city hire an accountant to audit the museum and a human resources consultant to review management before providing more taxpayer funds to the institution.

The city, which funded the creation of the museum in 2002, has annually provided funding to support operations. City staff has recommended that the city continue to fund the museum this year.

The report from former Inspector General Sean Connolly, who was removed from the position on Jan. 24, was initiated after 13 employees and volunteers were discharged from the museum over the course of several weeks starting in late May.

The report delves into certain personnel issues and financial matters at the museum.

It is not easy to find on the city website but can be found at the bottom of the Open Government Transparency page on joliet.gov.

The report chronicles specific complaints by fired employees and volunteers about Chief Executive Officer Greg Peerbolte, Chief Operating Officer Kelly Klobucher, and other top managers at the museum. It also includes comments from a former employer critical of Klobucher.

Connolly said he had limited participation from Peerbolte, who said he was unable to discuss personnel issues and pointed to potential litigation over the firings, and no participation from Kloburcher in developing the report.

Peerbolte in his comments to Connolly referred to general issues that included unauthorized parties with alcohol being held by workers and volunteers at the Old Joliet Prison.

The dismissals, Connolly said, were based on staff members being associated with a Facebook posting making comments about Peerbolte’s wife, which the discharged staffers denied their involvement.

The report is generally critical of museum management. It questions whether the Facebook posting making comments about Peerbolte’s wife should have led to any dismissals.

Connolly does identify Dan Philip as the creator of a Hella Obscura website that includes an article that Philip wrote that “appeared” critical of Peerbolte.

Philip has been among the fired staffers coming to City Council meetings to oppose museum funding for 2024.

According to the inspector general’s report, Philip said he wrote the article critical of Peerbolte “to get a reaction from that dude.”