Don Wilson.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, argued Monday night that City Clerk Devon Reid had violated the city’s pandemic-induced hiring freeze by hiring a contractor to do work for the clerk’s office in recent months.

Wilson initially moved to delete from the bills list payments totaling several thousand dollars for the contractor and said Reid had been told in writing by the city’s human services director not to go ahead with filling the position.

Reid defended his decision saying the funds were in his budget and he had the authority to spend them.

The hiring freeze was imposed by the interim city manager after it became apparent that the pandemic was likely to cause city revenues to fall short by $10 million or more this year.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said she was concerned about the apparent policy violation and that all positions need to be approved by the human services division to protect the city from a variety of potential liability issues.

She called for the matter to be referred to the Council’s Rules Committee for further discussion.

In the end Wilson withdrew his motion to deny payment of the bills, saying that, given that the person had done the work, he deserved to be paid.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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