The city of Joliet’s top technology official was fired this week.
David Braner, a department head with the title director of information, was fired Wednesday, although it’s not clear why.
City Manager James Capparelli did not return calls seeking comment on why he fired Braner.
Braner was contacted but said, “I really don’t have any comment on the situation.”
Braner had been with the city since July 2016 and generally had been given credit by City Council members over the years for leadership in moving the city ahead and oftentimes catching up on technology. Among projects he headed was the implementation of a body camera program for the Joliet Police Department.
“He’s always been an innovative, hardworking person every time I’ve been involved with him,” council member Sherri Reardon said Friday. “I’m sorry to lose him.”
Reardon chairs the council’s Communications, Technology and Information Systems Committee that was meeting with Braner on Wednesday morning when he was called away. The next time she saw him, Reardon said, Braner was leaving City Hall.
“Anytime I ever worked with David, I’ve had nothing but professionalism – good man, good work,” Reardon said.
Reardon said she discussed Braner’s dismissal with Capparelli but could not comment on what he said.
Dealing primarily with the inner workings of technology in city government services, Braner was not a high-profile figure like other department heads such as the police and fire chiefs, whose jobs put them in the public view.
But as a department head, he was one of the top officials at City Hall.
“Now he’s fired. Who are we going to put in his place?” council member Pat Mudron said.
Mudron said he was trying to set up a meeting with Capparelli to find out why Braner was discharged.
“My issue with this is if I let somebody go, it has to be for some gross misconduct, which nobody said he did,” Mudron said.
Braner is the second department head fired by Capparelli, although his first misfired. Capparelli fired former police Chief Dawn Malec in October and learned later that day that state law only allowed him to demote a police chief to her previous rank but not fire her.
Malec returned to the police department as a lieutenant, although she retired earlier this month.
Capparelli made Malec police chief his first day on the job after being hired as city manager in January 2021. She replaced Al Roechner, who chose retirement amid rumors that he likely would be fired by Capparelli.