Evanston aldermen tonight will review a new staff proposal to consolidate some of the city’s unusually large number of boards, commissions and committees.

The latest plan includes ordinances that would:

  • Combine the Housing and Homelessness Commission, Human Relations Commission and ADA Advisory Committee into a new Housing and Human Relations Commission.
  • Merge the Ladd Arboretum Committee into the Environment Board.
  • Combine the Housing and Community Development Act Committee and the Mental Health Board into a new Community Development and Human Services Committee.
  • Move the parking functions of the Transportation and Parking committee into the Economic Development Committee.
  • Combine the Parks and Recreation Board with the Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Public Place Names to form a new Parks, Recreation and Community Service Board. 

The plan also proposes merging the Sign Review and Appeals Board into the the Design and Project Review Committee and proposes creating a new Mobility Technical Advisory Committee that would take on the transportation functions of the existing Transportation and Parking Committee and take over the role of the Taxicab Advisory Committee.

The plan also calls for eliminating three inactive committees — the Civic Center Committee, Lakefront Committee and Wind Farm Committee.

Those changes would reduce the total number of city boards from 45 to 36.

In memos to the aldermen, City Manage Wally Bobkiewicz says that because of term expirations and vacancies, most of the changes can be made effective Jan. 1 without displacing any current members from the committees.

The current high number of committees is seen to create difficulties finding enough people to serve on the panels and to leave some of them with too little work to do to keep the participants engaged. It’s also created difficulties for aldermen and the public to stay informed about what all the committees are up to.

The proposal will be reviewed tonight by the City Council’s Rules Committee, which consists of all the aldermen plus the mayor. Assuming the committee approves, formal adoption of the new ordinances by the City Council would likely occur later this summer. 

Related stories

New plan to trim count of city boards (3/20/16)

Over-committed to committees? (1/4/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Start from bottom up, not top down
    If left to ‘evaluate’ which committees to disband, you will get members and special interests protesting that they/function should not be cut–and nothing will be cut or just the same people moved to new/others—continuing the bloat.
    Instead start from a basis of zero committees/Board and make anyone who wants there to be a committee justify why that committee or Board is needed.
    The justification should be made public and if possible put on the ballot at the next election.
    We have too many now—something like the Sign Committee demonstrates how parental the city has become.
    Instead of people producing economic value, they have to spend time and resources filling out forms, meetings, fees, etc.. Not to speak of potential business that looks at moving to Evanston.

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