City council member Jim McFarland notified the city Sept. 9 that he’s stepping down from his post on the Joliet City Council at the end of the month.
The first-term councilman said the decision is tied to his plans to move out of the city, noting that he and his wife work outside of Joliet.
McFarland was first elected to serve on the city council in 2013. In April, his at-large council position is up for election.
Initially, McFarland intended to serve out his whole term, but he said the situation didn’t pan out according to plan.
“It’s a tough one,” he said of his decision. “I was born in this city; my parents are from this city.”
Reflecting on his time as a city official, McFarland said he will always remember the time he helped bring the city’s attention to a proposal that would have brought an immigration detention center to Joliet.
In 2013, McFarland was one of several community leaders who spoke out against a controversial proposal by a Tennessee-based for-profit entity to build the detention center.
“The accomplishment I’m most proud of is publicly opening the light behind the immigration detention center that was planned for Joliet,” he said. “Other officials and staff were saying, ‘this is all talk.’ I was the driving force to help the city take action.”
Mayor Bob O’DeKirk said McFarland’s presence on the council will not be forgotten.
“I supported Jim,” he said. “I thought he brought fresh perspective to the council… He’s made his decision and we need to move forward.”
O’DeKirk said the city will now work to find a replacement.
“I’ve had dozens of people approach,” he said. “Whoever I appoint needs to be approved by the council.”
O’DeKirk added that whoever is appointed to the council will have to pool together petitions quickly, in order to secure their candidacy for the position when it goes up for election early next year.