Ald. Devon Reid (8th) told a handful of residents at his online ward meeting Saturday afternoon that he wants to extend the timeline for Evanston’s city manager search to provide more opportunities for residents to meet with and provide feedback on the final candidates.

Under the current search process, as outlined on the city website and the recruitment brochure, the deadline for candidates to submit applications is Monday.

Then, after representatives from the city’s consulting firm, CPS HR Consulting, completes screening interviews, the City Council on Dec.6 is scheduled to review the consultant’s recommendations on top candidates in executive session and come up with a short list of candidates to be interviewed by council members.

Then by the week of Jan. 3 the schedule says the Council will conduct interviews with finalists and approve the choice of a new city manager.

While the recruitment timeline doesn’t specify any meetings of candidates with the public, Reid said he hopes that a group of as many as five finalists will be presented to the community and said he will advocate for increased public participation in the process.

Jane Neumann.

During the meeting, 8th Ward resident Jane Neumann said that in the last city manager search the time for public input was so compressed that “it made many of us skeptical” that the community feedback was considered in any way by the council members.

Reid said he believed that with new members joining the Council since that search greater public input “will be baked into the new process.”

Another resident, Dana Pearl, said she believed that community members could help the Council whittle down the number of finalists and that she supported more community input.

Neumann said that the current schedule for making a final decision on a new manager, by Jan. 10, “is ridiculous,” especially with the holidays. She suggested the Council should postpone making a decision until about Feb. 10 instead.

California-based CPS HR Consulting was chosen to conduct the new city manager search after some alders complained about the work of the city’s long time consultant on high-level searches, Northbrook-based GOVHR USA.

The California firm currently lists seven city manager or assistant city manager searches on its website, with Evanston’s the only position east of the Mississippi River. GOVHR USA currently lists more than 20 openings for similar jobs across the country, including six in Illinois.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.