Joliet City Council rejects city manager’s resignation
By Bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org March 19, 2013 8:14PM
Thomas Thanas, center, Joliet City Manager for the City of Joliet, makes a point during a 2011 public hearing on the city budget at the planning department. He is now advocating more involvement in downtown development. | FILE PHOTO
Updated: April 21, 2013 6:49AM
Joliet City Manager Thomas Thanas appears to be staying in his job.
After meeting in a half-hour executive session, the Joliet City Council voted 8-0 Tuesday not to accept the resignation letter Thanas emailed to them Monday night.
Councilman Larry hug was the lone abstention, saying it was up to Thanas to decide what he wanted to do. Other council members and Mayor Thomas Giarrante praised Thanas’ work for the city and urged him to stay as the city’s top administrator.
At issue was a year-old land deal in which the city paid $1.25 million for a building as part of the downtown transportation center project. Three city council members — Larry Hug, Robert O’Dekirk and Jan Quillman — had questioned the terms of the deal and claimed they were not told the seller would continue collecting rent on the building until the city had it demolished.
But Thanas and the city attorney disputed those members’ version of the deal, saying that the terms were in a sales agreement approved by the council. Thanas said the seller was allowed to collect rent to cover the expenses of operating the building rather than having the city take over management of a private office building.
On Tuesday, Thanas expressed frustration at the council’s Monday night debate and urged members to “stop the silliness over issues that amount to $1,000 a month rent.” Thanas said he’d like to stay and work on projects such as the new downton transportation center.
“I don’t mind when the arrows are coming at me this way, but when they hit me in the back like they did yesterday I have to wonder if you want me to be here or not,” Thanas said.
O’Dekirk, however, said it was “unfortunate” that questions raised Monday night led to Thanas’s short-lived resignation attempt and said the questions being asked were legitimate.
“What we discussed in executive session verifies that they were legitimate questions,” O’DeKirk said.
Councilman Mike Turk made the motion to reject the resignation, saying Thanas “gives his heart to the city.”
Giarrante said Thanas’s leadership has helped pull the city out of fiscal troubles that he encountered when the economy was going into recession.
“I hate to think what will happen to the city if Tom leaves,” Giarrante said.