Evanston City Council members began developing a new list of city goals at a four-hour special meeting Saturday.

Diversity and leadership consultant Gilo Kwesi Logan, called in to lead the session, suggested they should try to come up with a list of three to six priorities.

But by the time they were finished developing the list, it had 10 priority items.

The alders then tried to decide which half of those 10 goals they wanted to work on fleshing out first, before deciding to hold off on any further work until alders who missed the meeting could be consulted.

At that point Mayor Daniel Biss said he wasn’t comfortable trying to narrow the list to five and Ald. Juan Geracaris also didn’t offer a list. But here’s how the other five alderpersons present identified their priorities.

Affordable HousingYYYYY
CARP – Climate ActionYYYY
Economic DevelopmentYY
Public Safety
Public HealthYYY
Process and proceduresY

(Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd) named six, rather than five.)

The new list, whenever it is finished, is intended to replace a goal list the Council adopted in 2019. That list had six goals:

  • Invest in city infrastructure and facilities.
  • Enhance community development and job creation citywide.
  • Expand affordable housing options.
  • Ensure equity in all city operations.
  • Stabilize long-term city finances.
  • Implement the city’s climate action and resilience plan.

All of the goals from the current list also appear on the new, longer one.

Mayor Biss said council members “sometimes assume we are on the same page when we aren’t always,” and that he hoped the goal-setting process would help the council better allocate its time “to what we and our constituents believe should be our priorities.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Great point on consultants.
    If one of our focuses is not economic development, Evanston is in big trouble.
    Look at what they are planning at Old Orchard.

    1. Matt, NOT ONE chose public safety. Finance as least made the practice squad. Economic development will not be playing this year. I guess the plan will continue to be spend more money, be surprised with the need for more money, corner the residents and businesses that can’t do anything with increased taxes, fines and/or fees and then finally move to Wilmette with Mr. Reid’s encouragement. See you at the ATM!

      1. I’d think that “Public Safety” would be a matter of “Equity”. Anyway, this bunch making these decisions for us is like giving control of a nuclear reactor to a bunch of toddlers…

  2. Suggest a similar process take place for residents to see if priorities align. The Mayor needed to hire a diversity consultant to lead the discussion? Isn’t that his job? And lo and behold look which goals were unanimously selected. While important and honorable goals, others such as public safety and economic development, are fundamental to the core success of “most livable” cities.

  3. My question is how does a priority list affect what the city council does. Does it mean they won’t allocate money to patch potholes because infrastructure has a low priority? I doubt it.

    I expect it will mostly matter when they disagree on a choice. For example, how much money to allocate between putting money into pensions, economic development grants and putting money into the reparations fund. Even then, the priorities of different alders for a specific situation may not align with the abstract high level priorities made in this process.

    Really, I can’t tell what it means.

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