Joliet inspector general appointed, terms to be determined

City officials tell council contract has yet to be drawn for inspector general

Attorney Sean P. Connelly

The city’s new inspector general will work under a contractual arrangement yet to be made.

The Joliet City Council voted 7-1 to approve the appointment of Sean P. Connelly to inspector general after hearing that he will work as an outside contractor but no contract for his services has been completed.

Joliet is switching from an on-staff inspector general to an outside contract for inspector general services.

The change was discussed during council budget meetings in December.

When it was discussed Tuesday before the vote, Council member Sherri Reardon asked if the city had a copy of the agreement under which Connelly would be hired.

City Manager James Capparelli said he did not think so.

City Manager Jim Capparelli listens to council discussion on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at Joliet City Hall in Joliet, Ill. The Joliet City Council discussed an amendment to allow for liquor consumption and video gambling at gas stations.

“I don’t have a copy of the agreement because he’s not an employee,” Capparelli said. “Nothing has been signed.”

Capparelli then turned to City Attorney Sabrina Spano and asked if the legal department had an agreement.

“There is no agreement for this appointment,” Spano said.

Interim City Attorney Sabrina Spano, seen here at a Joliet City Council meeting on Monday, reportedly has opted out as a candidate for interim city manager.

Reardon joined the council majority in voting to approve the appointment.

Pat Mudron, who had asked for more information about Connelly, voted no, saying someone from Joliet should be hired.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk asked Mudron and Reardon at one point why they were raising questions at the meeting.

“Why didn’t you call prior to tonight’s meeting to raise these issues if you had a problem with it or a concern or questions?” O’Dekirk asked. “Why did you wait until tonight to bring it up?”

Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk

The inspector general reports to the mayor and has authority to investigate complaints about city employees and officials with the exception of the mayor.

Capparelli told the council that any complaints about the mayor would be referred to the city’s legal department.

Connelly, according the Connelly Law Office, worked as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County for five years before entering private practice in 2007.

He currently serves as a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Associates General Corps (JAG), the Army’s law group, which Capparelli emphasized when describing Connelly’s qualifications to the council.

“One of the great things about the JAG Corp is no undue command influence,” Capparelli said. “So, you can tell him what needs to be investigated, but you can certainly never tell him what you expect the outcome to be.”

O’Dekirk made Connelly a special inspector general last year to investigate missing video from outside police station cameras the day of the Eric Lurry arrest.

Capparelli said Connelly’s report “was very thorough, and it was very fair-minded. And, I believe we will get all of that from him.”