New Joliet City Manager James Capparelli plans to post all department head positions in a search for resumes, although he said he’s not planning on replacing anybody.
Capparelli said Tuesday he’s trying to get ahead of any potential retirements and other departures while already having to fill one department head vacancy and two other top administrative positions.
The move, however, comes at a time when a shake-up is already underway in the police department, where the chief was replaced Monday and three deputy chiefs are expected to be replaced by the end of the week.
Capparelli’s comments at a staff meeting have stirred concern among some employees speculating whether more top-level changes are on the way. But Capparelli said he told staff he wanted to get resumes to be prepared for unknown departures that may be coming.
“I did say I was going to post all department head positions,” Capparelli said. “The reason is we’ve had a bunch of people retire and leave. I’ve had to scramble. I don’t want to be in that position again.”
The city website currently posts two department head positions along with two other top management jobs.
Joliet has yet to replace Director of Community Development Kendall Jackson, who resigned in December.
Public Works Director James Trizna is leaving at the end of January.
Outgoing interim City Manager Jim Hock announced on Friday that he had named Greg Ruddy, currently public works administrator, as Trizna’s replacement. Ruddy has been a city employee for 22 years and public works administrator since 2006.
Capparelli said the public works director job is not likely to be posted for resumes since Ruddy is just coming in.
But he will have to fill the public works administrator job that Ruddy is vacating, along with two other supervisory positions opened up by retirements in late 2020: roadways engineer and fleet services director.
“This is really a controversy that’s only in people’s perspective,” Capparelli said. “I said I’m posting for resumes because I want to have someone in place in case more people decide to go.”
The move did draw criticism from Councilman Pat Mudron, who opposed Capparelli’s hiring and was one of three council members who voted Friday against giving him a contract.
“That’s not a management style I’ve ever heard of,” Mudron said. “It just causes all these people who are not in a union to think that we, the city of Joliet, are looking to get rid of them. That’s how I would look at it.”
Capparelli said the only pending personnel changes are likely to come by the end of this week in the police command staff. He said new Chief Dawn Malec, whom Capparelli appointed, is likely to make changes in her staff of deputy chiefs.
Sources said as early as Monday three of the four deputy chiefs had been told they were being demoted, while Deputy Chief Michael Batis would remain on the command staff.