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Joliet hires outside legal firm to investigate ethics complaints

Megann Horstead-news@thetimesweekly.com | 11/6/2019, 3:34 p.m.
The Joliet City Council is looking to resolve the internal disputes over ethics, which officials believe would help the city ...

The Joliet City Council is looking to resolve the internal disputes over ethics, which officials believe would help the city in its effort to govern. In a 5-2 vote, action was taken to hire the law firm Ancel and Glink to look into complaints and related issues concerning the city and its police department. Among those under investigation are Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and Councilwoman Jan Quillman. Both have been named in an ethics complaint, officials said. Councilmen Michael Turk and Don “Duck” Dickinson were identified as witnesses, officials said.

Corporation Counsel Marty Shanahan said Quillman and O’Dekirk have interested in the investigation, which leads officials to believe they should not vote to avoid the appearance of propriety. “I have not even seen the complaint,” Quillman said. “I have not even been able to confront my accuser.” Quillman said she intends to retain her own legal counsel in this matter. “I need to defend my reputation here,” she said.

Councilman Larry Hug called into question why the city should invest in an outside firm to investigate the ethics complaints. Matters under $20,000 typically do not require the approval of the city council. Interim City Manager Steve Jones said he wants the city council to look into hiring an outside law firm, adding that he consulted with the city’s ethics officer about how to proceed. He said he would like the council’s vote should the expenses turn out to exceed the $20,000 threshold. It remains unclear what the scope of the investigation is. “I don’t think expect the Mueller report here,” Jones said. Voting no was Councilman Terry Morris and Hug. Quillman did not vote as she is named in an ethics complaint.