Alderman gripes about city manager’s job search


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.

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