New Joliet inspector general could be in the wings

City Council agenda includes an appointment for inspector general but doesn’t say who

It looks like the city may be appointing an inspector general Tuesday.

There is an item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday under “Appointments” that says “Inspector General Appointment.”

The agenda posted on the city’s website doesn’t say anything else. Unlike other items on the agenda, such as the 2022 Drinking Water Sodium Hypochlorite Chemical Purchase, there is no attachment explaining the parties involved, what’s being done and what’s being spent.

If there is a specific person or, as has been suggested, law firm about to be appointed inspector general, two City Council members that I contacted had not heard anything.

The City Council, presumably, will be asked to approve the appointment of an inspector general by the mayor, who oversees the position.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk did not return a call seeking information.

Neither did City Manager James Capparelli, who creates the agenda and previously said he would be involved in the selection of an inspector general.

It could be that this is just intended to be an item up for discussion. But it’s not unusual for a mayoral appointment to appear on an agenda with the position to be filled and no name attached. Sometimes there are names attached. Sometimes the names are just mentioned at the council meetings before the council votes.

Typically, these are unpaid positions to city boards and commissions.

Presumably, an inspector general would be paid. How much? Maybe we will find out next week.

It’s a pretty important position, since the inspector general has authority to compel people to talk on controversial matters.

Attorney Sean P. Connolly and investigator Martin P. Walsh had that authority when they did their investigation that surfaced last week concerning missing Eric Lurry video.

The report mentions that they were appointed special inspector generals to do the investigation. It includes a May 12 letter from O’Dekirk appointing them as such.

Is the mayor pleased enough with the work done that he wants to make Connolly the city’s inspector general?

Under what terms?

Nothing on the agenda says. But Capparelli and O’Dekirk have talked about hiring an outside law firm instead of a staffer to do the work. If so, the city could hire the Connolly Law Firm to work on a contractual basis.

How much would the Connolly Law Firm or any law firm get paid for the work?

The city created the inspector general position in 2016, and Chris Regis held the position until the end of 2021.

Starting in 2022, Regis became deputy corporate counsel and no longer was inspector general.

But he was the inspector general when the mayor made Connolly and Walsh special inspector generals for the Lurry matter.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News