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Wayne's Words: Northpoint vote delayed

Wayne Horne | 3/19/2020, 6 a.m.
The news is almost completely dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are very few positives that can be highlighted regarding ...

For now, a vote on a pre-annexation agreement that won’t come to fruition for several years could be the least of Will County’s, the State of Illinois and the nation’s worries.

One last thing… Tuesday’s City Council agenda produced another dilemma regarding the position of permanent City Manager. Two weeks ago, the majority of the City Council voted, in concept, to contract with a recruiting firm to search for a city manager. This week the same majority voted to table selection of Slavin Management Consults for an Executive Search for City Manager for the City of Joliet. According to an email sent to each Council member, current part-time Interim City Manager Steve Jones wants to extend his tenure as a contract employee to beyond next year’s city council elections.

Jones, who was adamant about taking the job long-term, insisted he did not want the job full-time back in June of 2019. Instead he resigned as a full-time employee of the City of Joliet and became a contract employee that would allow him to start receiving his pension. He can only continue his pension if he is not a full-time employee. The contract does not prevent him from working part-time for another entity. Jones contract does not allow him to work more than 40 hours per week for Joliet. The job of City Manager of Joliet has been characterized as requiring 60+ hours per week according to Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk. Jones, who lives outside of Joliet, recently arranged a junket for employees of media outlets The Herald News, Patch and WJOL to visit a Northpoint look-alike development in Kansas, paid for by the developer. This is the same developer seeking to develop a similar project here in Joliet. According to sources, the city council did not vote to initiate the junket arranged for by Jones

Extending Jones’ contract employment by at least 18 months seems rather long-term, thus contradicting his desire not to be City Manager fulltime. I wonder what changed? Stay tuned…

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