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Local News

Joliet city manager leaving

Joliet City Manager David Hales listens to public comment Tuesday, July 17, 2018, during a Joliet City Council meeting at City Hall in Joliet, Ill.
Joliet City Manager David Hales listens to public comment Tuesday, July 17, 2018, during a Joliet City Council meeting at City Hall in Joliet, Ill.

Joliet City Manager David Hales likely will be out next week.

The City Council will vote to end his contract effective Wednesday.

Hales will leave after less than a year on the job unless something changes before the City Council meets Tuesday.

The council agenda now includes votes to end Hales' contract and to reach a separation agreement with the outgoing city manager.

A council memo, included in the agenda, from Inspector General Chris Regis says the separation agreement is being negotiated and will be discussed in closed session after the pre-council meeting on Monday.

Hales could not immediately be reached for comment.

One City Council member said it was Hales' decision to leave, and the council was not seeking to fire him.

"I'm going to let him speak for himself because it was his decision," council member Larry Hug said. "It's his decision to move on. I can tell you, it isn't a fit for the direction he and his family wanted to go."

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk could not be reached for comment.

Sources said O'Dekirk told the council after a closed session at the end of its Oct. 2 meeting that they should begin considering an exit strategy for Hales.

Hug said he was unaware of any plan to fire Hales.

"Nobody has brought up termination in any way, shape or form that I'm aware of," Hug said. "That was not in my mind whatever – wanting him to leave."

Hales, when asked a week ago about reports the council was discussing his departure, acknowledged there were rumors about his job status but declined to discuss them.

"I hear so many rumors like that in this city that sometimes I just have to block them out," Hales said.

The Regis memo includes a staff recommendation that the mayor and council approve the agreement.

Hales, 64, was hired last year on a three-year contract that would have paid a salary of $215,000 a year. He started in November.

The council approved his contract last year.

Hales' departure follows that of his predecessor, Jim Hock, who gave one month's notice before announcing his retirement. City Attorney Marty Shanahan filled in as interim city manager for six months until Hales was hired. Hock recently surfaced as one of three finalists for an interim city manager job in Marco Island, Florida.

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