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Joliet council wars loom large with Jones in as interim city manager

Megann Horstead – news@thetimesweekly.com | 8/7/2019, 7:32 p.m.
The Joliet City Council at its meeting this week officially agreed to terms allowing Deputy City Manager Steve Jones to ...

The Joliet City Council at its meeting this week officially agreed to terms allowing Deputy City Manager Steve Jones to continue assuming interim city manager duties.

Jones has been filling in since June. About that time, a majority of the council decided it is best to remove the duties of interim city manager from Corporation Counsel Marty Shanahan. The city’s decision did not result without controversy regarding infighting between members of the city council.

The council wars have all but dissipated at public meetings in recent months.

Councilman Jan Quillman questioned if members of the council were going to discuss the employment agreement in an open meeting.

“Mr. Mudron, want to start?” she asked. “It’s your contract.”

Councilman Pat Mudron responded, saying, “I think it’s the city’s contract.”

“I think we’re all one board, here, I thought, Jan,” he said.

Council action allows Interim City Manager Steve Jones to remain a full-time employee for six months performing his current duties. At that time, the city has the option to consider authorizing an arrangement where Jones can be hired to work under contract. The city council will get to decide if it wants him to focus either on economic development director or interim city manager duties.

Councilman Larry Hug said the deal obligates the city to help Mr. Jones, should he want to retire and double dip, or benefit from a city contract while cashing in on his pension.

“That’s a personal choice of his own, but it’s not a choice that we should be making,” he said.

The employment agreement, as approved, stipulates that Jones will earn a $192,000 salary, plus other benefits.

Previously, Jones earned $150,445 as economic development director for the city.

In a related decision, the council voted to rescind the conditional job offer to former City Manager Jim Hock for interim city manager.

Jones will be working as interim city manager until at least March 1, 2020, at which point he can become a contract employee.