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City boards resist consolidation

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.

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Rules committee packet

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