Pulse: Going, staying and planning for the future
March 24, 2013 11:21PM
Thomas Thanas (right)
Updated: April 26, 2013 6:30AM
It was not the typical week at Joliet City Hall with City Manager Thomas Thanas resigning and unresigning in a roughly 24-hour period.
Not that his future was never in question before, since it was just a year ago that a recruitment firm made calls to Joliet to talk with references about job possibilities that Thanas was briefly considering.
Councilwoman Jan Quillman noted the past episode before voting with others to reject Thanas’s letter of resignation. She, however, never got a firm answer as to how long Thanas intended to stay.
Thanas later said it was an issue that should be addressed with the council.
“I have to eliminate that as an issue,” Thanas said. “I have to work with the council on what is a realistic transition plan.”
Don’t expect to be a witness to that discussion.
Mayor Thomas Giarrante said the matter that sparked Thanas’s resignation, a spirited debate Monday over whether the council was properly informed about the details of a year-old land deal, should never have happened during an open meeting.
Giarrante ended the discussion of the Thanas matter at the Tuesday meeting, saying, “Rather than airing the dirty laundry in public, let’s take it behind closed doors when it involves personnel.”
Fair enough, but the discussion of the details of a land acquisition already completed and whether council members had all the facts before voting is hardly fair game for a closed meeting. State law limits closed-door discussions while allowing it for land acquisitions. But that’s for pending acquisitions, not completed acquisitions.
The council went into closed session for a half-hour before voting to reject Thanas’s letter of resignation.
“What was discussed today was Tom’s resignation,” City Attorney Jeff Plyman said later.
Was that all?
Council members who raised questions Monday said the closed-door session established that they did not have a sales contract detailing the land deal when they voted on it.
Amid the Thanas controversy, the council on Tuesday approved zoning that will allow the Autobahn Country Club to add 24 more lots for members who want to build combination condo-garages near the track where they race.
No controversy here, and none was expected.
Club President Mark Basso said the club has already sold lots and broken ground on one.
Bob Okon contributed to Pulse.