Joliet mayor names new Rialto board members

Brock A. Stein | 1/18/2017, 1:04 p.m.
With the appointment of four new members by Joliet's mayor this week, the Rialto Square board now has enough members ...
The Rialto Theater in Joliet. Photo by Brock A. Stein

The Joliet City Council on Tuesday approved four new members of the Will County Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority—the board that oversees the Rialto Square Theater.

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk presented his recommendations to the board after the previous board resigned on December 29 following the approval of a new funding agreement with the city.

The new board members are local attorney Joe Carlasare who ran for a Will County Board seat in November; Providence Bank vice president Donnie Chestnut; Joliet Township High School District 204 board president Jeff Pierson and Chicago Street Pub co-owner Kathy Trizna.

The four new board members join Robert Filotto who was appointed to the board last week by Governor Bruce Rauner.

The Governor appoints a total of 3 members to the board and is expected to name two more to complete the 7-person panel.

With 5 members constituting a quorum, the board will now be able to conduct theater business.

Mayor O’Dekirk said Tuesday that he received over 40 applications “from a lot of good people” for the board appointments and would select from that same pool of candidates for a blue ribbon panel to help formulate a plan for steering the theater as it re-organizes in the next year.

The mayor re-emphasized his need to find a “long term solution” to the theater’s shaky management and finances.

He said he hopes to have a cross section of volunteers from the city’s business community and other leaders to “try to come up with a business plan or a marketing plan for the theater” that can be brought back to the city, county and theater board. O’Dekirk said he is treading carefully in choosing the candidates who will give a “non-political and honest assessment” of the theater’s operations. He said some members of the community have used the issue to attack former and current Rialto Board members as well as city council members, something he hopes to avoid with his picks for the blue ribbon panel.

“I’m using caution,” said O’Dekirk. “I want this to be an honest solution.”