Joliet official to be Lockport city manager
BY JANET LUNDQUIST firstname.lastname@example.org July 18, 2013 8:48PM
Updated: August 20, 2013 6:47AM
Joliet is losing another top staff member next month, when its assistant city manager takes over as city manager in Lockport.
Ben Benson, who has worked for Joliet for nine years, the last year as assistant city manager, starts Aug. 12 in his new position. Lockport’s city council approved a contract with Benson on Wednesday night.
Frank Koehler has been serving as interim city administrator.
“I’m excited. I think it’s good for both of us,” Benson said Thursday.
The announcement by Benson, 42, of Joliet, comes after Joliet officials began the recruitment process to replace City Manager Thomas Thanas, who resigned in May.
Hiring a new city manager in Joliet is expected to take about three months, and Thanas is expected to stay until his replacement is hired.
Thanas resigned during a closed session of the city council in which he reportedly got into a disagreement with a council member. He had resigned earlier this year, also after a disagreement with certain council members during an open meeting, before deciding to stay after the council voted to reject his resignation.
Benson said he sought the Lockport position to advance his career and become the top manager in a smaller town.
“This is the fourth-largest community in Illinois, and I think it takes a lot of experience to manage,” Benson said of Joliet.
In June, it was reported that Benson was a finalist for the city administrator post in Clinton, Iowa, but was not hired.
He was hired as Joliet’s director of visitor services in 2004, then served as director of marketing and communications before being appointed assistant city manager.
Among his visions for Lockport is to further develop the land near the city’s Interstate 355 interchange, Benson said.
“Definitely we’re going to miss him. He’s been doing a great job for us,” Joliet Mayor Thomas Giarrante said. “I don’t blame him (for leaving). He wants to move up the ladder, and this is definitely an upgrade for him. I wish him well.”
Giarrante said Benson’s resignation will allow Joliet’s new city manager to select his or her assistant.