Former City Manager Jim Hock said Tuesday that he believes he can bring a "steady hand" to Joliet by returning to his old job on a temporary basis.
Hock is now believed to be the next interim city manager, and the City Council has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday when they expect to finalize a contract.
Joliet was close to bringing Hock in as interim city manager a year ago before that arrangement fell apart.
But unlike then, Hock appears to have strong support from a council which is running out of options as current interim City Manager Steve Jones leaves the job on Friday,
Hock would be the third interim city manager for Joliet, which hasn't seen any real stability in the office since Hock retired in May 2017.
Besides the revolving door in the city manager's office, Joliet is facing a number of issues with tax revenues declining because of the COVID-19 pandemic and protests in the streets over police issues.
"I believe that the city has a lot going for it," Hock said. "There's been a lot of turmoil in the community – the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter issues, all the issues that are national are also specific to Joliet. I think that I can bring a stable, steady hand to guide the city while they search for a new city manager."
If the city does complete a contract with Hock, it would come after several others, mostly staffers, have turned down the position.
Hock was a controversial choice for the job a year ago when Councilman Pat Mudron called him to see if he would be interested in the position.
Mudron said he did not reach out to Hock this time but believes the former city manager has strong support.
"It appears that it's going to be a unified vote," Mudron said. "Well, until the vote, you're not sure what's going to happen. But it seems like everyone wants to make this work."
The City Council has been sharply divided in 5-3 votes over city manager issues, with Mayor Bob O'Dekirk siding with the minority, since Mudron was part of the majority that removed Marty Shanahan from the interim city manager job in June 2019.
Councilwoman Jan Quillman said the council "couldn't come to a consensus" on a number of interim city manager possibilities but appears to agree on Hock.
"With everything that's been happening, we really need someone who knows the city, knows the staff, and knows what's happening," Quillman said. "I thought he (Hock) is someone who could come in and guide the ship until we get a city manager."
Joliet has not had a permanent city manager since David Hales left the job in October 2018 with a buyout after less than a year on the job.
Hales replaced Hock.