TACOMA, Washington — The Tacoma City Council failed to agree today on one of three finalists — including Evanston’s Wally Bobkiewicz — to become its next city manager, and Bobkiewicz then decided to withdraw from consideration for the job.

His decision came after the Tacoma council, following its Saturday session, invited its interim city manager, Elizabeth Pauli, to join the pool of applicants.

That move apparently reflected a dissatisfaction among council members with the finalists — who also included the deputy city managers of Fayetteville, N.C., and Amarillo, Tex.

Pauli agreed to join the list of applicants after the council deliberated for more than an hour this morning in an executive session.

The former city attorney for Tacoma, Pauli was appointed interim city manager in February, following the resignation of T. C. Broadnax, who left to become city manager of Dallas, Tex.

At the time, she was quoted in the local News Tribune as saying she was invited to become a candidate for city manager but turned it down and that she did not intend to apply for the permanent post.

Bobkiewicz, in an email this afternoon to Evanston aldermen said, “I’m not yet ready to leave Evanston.”

“As attractive an opportunity the Tacoma position is and as much as my wife and I were interested in being near her parents in the area,” Bobkiewicz added, “Evanston is still where our hearts and my professional passions live.”   

And, in case the aldermen were wondering about whether he plans to stick around with a new mayor and three new aldermen joining the Council this month, Bobkiewicz added, “This experience has reaffirmed my commitment to the City of Evanston. I do not plan to apply for any other city manager positions in the near future. Instead, I look forward to assisting Mayor Hagerty, the City Council, and the outstanding city staff serving the residents of Evanston.”

Mayor Steve Hagerty responded with a statement of his own, posted on his Facebook page, that “Wally Bobkiewicz is one of the nation’s top city managers. The fact that he was a finalist for the Tacoma, Wash., job illustrates this point. I’m relieved that the Tacoma City Council was undecided, pleased that Wally withdrew, and grateful that his talents and heart remain in Evanston.”

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Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. This count as an outside evaluation ?

    Whatever the outcome, should we view this as an outsiders evaluation of Wally’s current and forecasted performance/ability ?

  2. Now that the cat is out of

    Now that the cat is out of the bag about Wally looking for a new job, will he be reassigned to a Special Projects Coordinator role should his Tacoma experiment not pan out?

    1. City Manager Wally

      Having lived in Evanston for 39 years, I remember quite a few earlier city managers.

      Quite frankly, I am very glad that Wally is staying here ! ! !

      Nothing wrong with “testing the waters;” the “test” often reinforces how much we like where we are, and how much we want accomplish, where we are !  

      1. doubt it…..

        Nah..he knew he wasn’t going to get it, so he pulled out first before he got the official reject.  

      2. We are lucky to have him
        I agree, that we are very fortunate to have him. Remember his predecessor?

        I do not resent him looking for a chance to move up to a bigger city. The city manager position is not a job for life. We should expect talented energetic people to be looking for advancement in their careers.

  3. Tacoma Press Mentions Suit Against Wally

    A report from the Tacoma paper mentions the Suzzette Robinson lawsuit against Wally for racial discrimination as  one of the reasons the Tacoma council asked the interim manager to be considered. 


    I’ve read the complaint and some of the recent orders from the Judge in the Robinson case.  I don’t think she has much of a case.  She was an awful Public Works DIrector and it was clear that she was in over her head.  Getting rid of Robinson was one of the few good things I think Wally has done.  It will be a bit ironic if the whole escapade is what precludes him from getting a better job.

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