Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz is one of four finalists to become the new city manager of Tacoma, Washington.

Tacoma officials announced the candidates in a news release Tuesday.

The other candidates are Kristoff Bauer, deputy city manager of Fayetteville, North Carolina; Robert Cowell, deputy city manager of Amarillo, Texas, and Belinda Graham, who until she retired in 2014 was assistant city manager of Riverside, California.

Although the other candidates have never served in a city’s top executive position, the communities where the other candidates have worked are all much larger than Evanston. Fayetteville has a population of 201,963; Amarillo 198,645, and Riverside 322,424. Tacoma has 207,948 residents.

The candidates are to be interviewed by Tacoma’s City Council and the city’s executive leadership team on Thursday, May 11, and Friday, May 12.

A public forum for the candidates is to air live on Tacoma’s web video channel from 7:15 to 9 p.m. CT on Friday, May 12.

Tacoma has been looking for a new city manager since February when T.C. Broadnax, who’d been in Tacoma five years, was named city manager of Dallas, Texas.

If Bobiewicz wins the Tacoma job, Evanston’s incoming mayor, Steve Hagerty, and the incoming City Council with three new aldermen will have a major additional task immediately added to their plates.

Bobkiewicz has served as Evanston’s city manager since 2009. He previously was city manager of Santa Paula, California, a community of 29,000 people.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Dashed hopes

    I and probably many were hopeful when he started that, as he was protrayed, trained manager, he would bring professionalism to the city management and budget and act to keep bad and costly legislation from occuring. Whether he was incapable of doing so or weak and over-ruled, that promise was dashed. Having a Mayor and a City Manager who are weak and can frustrate any good business decisions the other can make or made by others in city government, shows that we really only need and should have one or the other—and that person should be knowlegable and strong enough to really run the city instead of giving into the whims of aldermen or special interest residents.

    1. What will the kept pets do

      What will the kept pets do when the one pulling all the strings leaves?

      1. Kept pets? Are you kidding?

        Before you insult the staff that works tirelessly to serve our community, maybe you should shadow a few of them for a day or two.  Public service is often challenging, frustating and downright brutal, just as it is rewarding, exciting and worthwhile.

        City Manager Bobkiewicz works long hours trying to solve problems that, if they were easy, would have been solved long ago by the armchair generals who lurk behind their computer screens.

        In this engaged, active community, no decision goes without scrutiny, second-guessing and critique — it’s not all bon bons, boys.  Maybe you should find something more productive to do with your time.

  2. Wally’s a big government guy

    Based on his record, Wally’s philosophy is more government is the answer to most problems. During a Recession, he created the 311 system that hired 20 more union government employees who basically field calls and redirect them to the proper departments. They get government union pensions as if we need to pay for more goverment union pensions that is bankrupting our city, county and state.

    Under Wally, we got much more government subsidized housing and a host of goverment programs. 

    Tacoma is run by liberals who possess the same governmental philosophy. Wally should be a shoo in. And no doubt, our city council will find a Wally clone.

    So, what does it matter at this point? Hmmm, who else said that? 

    1. 311 and aldermen and others

      311 was probably created so that aldermen would not have to deal with people in their ward—they don’t like “messy” things—just proposing things and spending.

      That said 311 gets things done—much more efficiently that aldermen—but then why do we need the aldermen ?

      1. Guest (not verified) and

        Guest (not verified) and Anonymous Al 2021! You seem to have all answers. Why hide your light under a bushel basket? Your city needs you. Step up and run for something. 

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