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Joliet hires new city manager

Brock A. Stein | 9/19/2017, 9:06 p.m.
The Joliet City Council has approved the hiring of David Hales as its new city manager after a nearly 5 ...
Joliet City Manager David Hales Photo by Brock A. Stein

The Joliet City Council has approved the hiring of David Hales as its new city manager after a nearly 5 month search. The council approved a 3-year contract for Hales whose salary will be $215,000 per year.

He replaces former city manager Jim Hock who retired from the position in May after four years with Joliet. City attorney Martin Shanahan has been serving as interim city manager since May.

Hales currently serves as the city manager for Bloomington, Illinois, a city about half the size of Joliet with a population of around 80,000.

Originally from Utah, Hales said that he will begin in his new position after giving 60 days’ notice with his current city. A press release from the city says that Hales will start in his new position on November 27.

Hales said that he was intrigued by the possibilities of working in Joliet which he described as a “city on the move.”

“They’ve had phenomenal economic development success,” he said.

He said he went through two rounds of interviews and the more he learned the more he “felt like it would be a great challenge and a great opportunity for me.”

“I was honored to be selected,” said Hales who will relocate to the city with his wife Kathy. The couple has 6 children and 13 grandchildren spread all over the country he said.

Hales said that he first started as city manager in Bloomington in 2009 and before that he served as director of finance for the City of West Jordan Utah. He also served stints as city manager in Bend, Oregon; Kannapolis, North Carolina and started his career in in municipal management in Centerville, Utah.

Hales received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in public administration from Brigham Young University.

Once he starts, he said he first plans to go on a listening tour of the city, meeting with the city council and mayor; employees, staff, and plans to host meetings with constituents in all of the council districts as well as some neighborhood associations.

“So I can really first understand what do they consider some of the priorities, some of the needs,” said Hales who said that he places a high value on citizen engagement.

“That first 3 months will be a critical time period for a lot of outreach,” he said.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said in a statement that “The City Council is extremely impressed with the qualifications and background of Mr. Hales” which lead to his selection.