Tom Suffredin.

Alderman Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, in a newsletter to his constituents today, complained about City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz applying for jobs elsewhere and called for a public City Council discussion about the future of the city manager’s position.

Bobkiewicz, who was hired for the Evanston job in June 2009 from a position as city manager of Santa Paula, California, has within the past two years been publicly identified as a finalist for positions as the county administrator of Clackamas County, Oregon, and city manager of Tacoma, Washington. Both communities ended up hiring internal candidates for those jobs.

Bobkiewicz has said he has family ties in the Pacific Northwest that give him an interest in relocating there for the right job opportunity.

In his newsletter, Suffredin claims that by looking for jobs elsewhere Bobkiewicz has placed Evanston in a “stagnant, purgatorial existence.”

“We as a City need to address whether a leader who openly, publicly and unapologetically wants to leave Evanston should continue to run Evanston’s day-to-day affairs,” Suffredin writes.

Wally Bobkiewicz.

Bobkiewicz, who earned $225,161 in salary and benefits in his first full year in Evanston, has received periodic pay increases from the City Council and is budgeted to earn $251,647 this year.

It was not immediately clear whether any other aldermen share Suffredin’s view and it was also unclear whether — given city rules about holding discussions about employment matters in executive session — whether Suffredin was likely to be able to get the public debate he’s seeking.

The city code says the manager is subject to termination by a majority vote of the City Council. Bobkiewicz’s contract with the city says he would be due nine months of salary and benefits coverage if the aldermen chose to fire him.

They would not owe him any severance if he leaves voluntarily.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. 6th Ward Newsletter

    I received this message from Alderman Suffredin via a 6th Ward Newsletter.  I don’t recall ever receiving a 6th Ward Newsletter previously, so I was suprised that this newsletter seemed to be an attack on the City Manager’s position and nothing else about the 6th ward.  Alderman Suffredin’s concerns are valid, but seem rather political (maybe even personal) instead of providing 6th ward information and news.  This issue and others raised by Alderman Suffredin are often important and well-intentioned, but I’m concerned about his tone and temperament on this issue and other communication, which could harm the message and even the righteousness of his messages and efforts.  I hope that the mayor and other council members will heed Alderman Suffredin’s call, so that this issue can be handled with due care and better messaging.

  2. City Manager
    While I doubt the Suffredin family has anything to offer Evanston, it is reasonable to assume at $250,000 in salary and benefits a replacement would be that difficult to find. Since the current city manager has expressed an interest in leaving, use this as an opportunity. Inform him that his contract may not be renewed but IF IT IS, there will be a 10% REDUCTION in salary and benefits. He will know his standing and this may aid him in his search for another position. A search for a replacement candidate should then begin. The council has 9 months to look and engage. This isn’t a difficult choice. He doesn’t need to be fired. Leaving isn’t an insult to Evanston. And neither is he irreplaceable. Simple.

  3. Bravo Ald. Suffredin, questions need to be asked in public

    Good for Ald. Suffredin asking necessary questions.  It is well past time for citizens to be served by people who want to be here, not people who want to leave.

    1. He’s been here almost a
      He’s been here almost a decade. You act like it’s a HS popularity contest. He’s a professional manager. They move from town to town. That’s how they get experience and grow their portfolio. He’s not doing anything not accepted by industry standards or different from professionals elsewhere. But I’ll bet you took a blood brothers oath at your job right?

  4. Indentured Servitude?

    So does this mean that people must stay in place at the jobs that they are in forever? No movement for a better deal / better location or just because? Indentured Servitude has been abolished. Current society is more and more mobile, and staying in any one job for a lengthy period of time is less common. 

    Mr. Bobkiewicz appears to be doing a decent job under trying circumstances (9 spineless alderpeople who listen to small groups of people who make the most noise) when he presents budgets that reflect what the alderpeople claimed they wanted. Maybe he just wants to work in a more rational environment. 

    Alderman Grumpy seems to have a problem with freedom of choice.

  5. Alderman’s Undies in a Bundle about the City Manager

    From whence cometh this pile of BS? Appears the alderman has some sort of personal axe to grind. In my view, the City Manager was a qualified candidate hired in good faith, who has served Evanston well ever since. And he, like every other working person in town, has the right to progress in his career, read job ads, and periodically submit application when new oppportunities present themselves. Seems rather sniveling, then, to begrudge Mr. Bobkiewicz that right. He can certainly continue to serve us well, even while he looks forward to someday fulfilling his desire to relocate.

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