Aldermen tonight are scheduled to discuss an ordinance that would implement a planned consolidation of Evanston’s public works and utilities departments and that anticipates additional layoffs in response to the state’s budget crisis.

The ordinance says “a fundamental change in the city’s organizational structure is necessary” to meet the economic reality of a possible “multi-million dollar decrease” in revenue from the state.

It says the city is eliminating “several” full-time-equivalent positions effective in January.


So far the only person to lose a job as a result of the reorganization is the city’s now former public works director, Suzette Robinson.

And, In language apparently crafted to defend the action against possible legal challenges from those affected by the changes, the ordinance cites a lengthy list of legal precedents supporting such municipal reorganizations.

In addition to creating a new “Public Works Agency” to replace the public works and utlities departments, the ordinance also makes changes to the names of some other departments:

  • Community and Economic Development becomes just Community Development, reflecting the relocation some time ago of economic development efforts to the city manager’s office.
  • The Fire and Life Safety Services Department gets to go back to the old, shorter name Fire Department — but still provides the same services, but 
  • The Health Department takes on the longer name of Health and Human Services Department.

Related story

City to consolidate departments, Robinson out (8/21/15)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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