Anyone with common sense would want to know as much as possible about important things like a police chief’s take on why the city manager tried — and failed — to fire her. At least you would think so, but most of the Joliet city council felt otherwise.
Not only did the council turn a deaf ear to former Police Chief Dawn Malec, but Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, in a true display of class, insulted City Councilman Pat Mudron for announcing he wanted a closed session so Malec could speak to them.
“It was really dumb for Councilman Mudron to announce it,” O’Dekirk said. “We never talk about executive session and Councilman Mudron knows that. It was a real stupid move on his part.”
If anyone didn’t already know what a churl O’Dekirk truly is, he succeeded in showing them by calling Mudron “dumb” and “stupid.” He also lied. Either that or he forgot all the talking he and Councilman Larry Hug did last year about what happened in an executive session when fired City Attorney Marty Shanahan didn’t get a $123,000 payout like they wanted him to.
O’Dekirk and Hug thought they had the deal for Marty’s money sealed since, they said, the council secretly voted for it in executive session. But when the vote was done in public, it didn’t go their way.
“We had five votes in executive session,” Hug said of the secret meeting. “Somebody changed their vote and I’d like an explanation.”
And then there was O’Dekirk taking it a step further, blaming Councilman Duck Dickinson, who has since resigned from the council, for messing up Marty’s deal.
“And Councilman Dickinson, Larry’s right. You did say in executive session that you approved this,” O’Dekirk claimed.
So much for never talking about what happens in executive session. O’Dekirk must have made all that up, or else forgotten about it.
Whether O’Dekirk was lying or he’s just gotten old and doesn’t remember things so good anymore is really besides the point anyway. What is the point is that if anyone is stupid or dumb here, it’s not Mudron. It’s City Manager Jim Capparelli. He’s the guy who fired Malec before realizing a few hours later that’s actually something he’s not able to do, that the worst he could pull on her was demoting her back to lieutenant.
Capparelli’s ignorance seems pretty egregious but it’s not really fair to say he was stupid or dumb. He may seem like he has no idea what he’s doing but how can you blame him for that when he came into the job without any experience managing a city or town of any size at all. It’s not his fault they made him city manager and he’s undoubtedly doing the best he can.
In the meantime, while Capparelli’s trying to get up to speed, what can it hurt to hear from Malec about that time he tried to fire her? Most of the city council may not be interested but there might be somebody out there who wants to know. Perhaps Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul would be interested.
Raoul supposedly has people down here poking around and trying to find out what’s going on with the police department. They might want to talk to Dawn Malec and hear what she has to say.
• Joe Hosey is the editor of The Herald-News. You can reach him at 815-280-4094, at email@example.com or on Twitter @JoeHosey.