Members of several city boards are opposing efforts of City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz to consolidate the groups.

The City Council’s Rules Committee tonight is scheduled to take a second look at the plan to pare the Evanston city government’s list of volunteer boards, committees and commissions from 36 to 28.

Members of several city boards are opposing efforts of City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz to consolidate the groups.

The City Council’s Rules Committee tonight is scheduled to take a second look at the plan to pare the Evanston city government’s list of volunteer boards, committees and commissions from 36 to 28.

And so far, of the groups that have voiced an opinion on the issue, only one pair of panels proposed for consolidation says they favor the idea.

Jill Brazel, chair of the Arts Council, and Joshua Barney, chair of the Public Art Committee, say they’d be OK with combining those two groups. But, in a memo to aldermen, the two say they don’t think the combination would lead to any saving on staff time needed to work with the groups — a prime goal of the city manager’s proposal.

Brazel and Barney say that after the transition the combined group would have twice the workload and, “the new operating procedures necessary to keep meetings efficient and effective” would require additional staff effort.

Other groups have been even less receptive to the change. Both the Plan Commission and the Preservation Commission have strongly opposed the idea of merging their operations.

The Energy Commission says its members don’t have the expertise to expand its role from supervising electric and gas utilities to also take on cable and telecommunications issues as part of the manager’s proposed Utility Commission.

And the Transportation and Parking Committee members have balked at taking on responsibility for the current Taxicab Advisory Board.

The aldermen also have received a memo from staff noting that similar nearby communities tend to have far fewer advisory boards than the 36 in Evanston. The memo says Arlington Heights has 19, Oak Park has 22, Skokie has 15 and Wilmette has 20.

Related stories

Plan, preservation panels balk at merger

Aldermen go slow on cutting boards

City eyes shrinking advisory boards

Related document

Rules committee packet

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

5 Comments

  1. Surprise! Surprise!
    Of course they don’t want to give up the power to dictate—that makes them feel powerful and get their “self-worth” out o fit. Heaven forbid they should actually have to work more in this economy.

    Maybe we just have too many such committees in total. They sure have not helped business in Evanston !

    1. Questions for someone afraid to use his/her name
      Dear anonymous,

      Work hard? Did you have any idea that these are volunteers? They do their work for for zero pay.

      Exactly what have you done to ‘help business in Evanston”?

      1. Ya… so
        Volunteers or not, they have an agenda.

        Do community organizers fall into this group?

        And I agree, allowing unpaid, non elected folks to recommend and/or determine policy is bad, if not toxic.

        In fact, based on our regime in Washington, we have seen what agendas can and will do. Not good.

        Just a thought.

  2. Fighting Special Interests
    Hope Wally gets lots of support from the community in his fight to avoid duplication of effort and overlapping committees.

  3. Volunteers still cost us money !
    What do you do when you are on a committee ? You make proposals to show you are doing something. Each of those wind-up costing us money with new rules and regulations. Why ‘volunteer ?’ Ego [look who I am] ? Power ?–projects they want but rational argument will not justify ?
    We have far too many un-elected people determing policy for the city—and too many elected and career employes for that matter.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.