It’s a little easier now to reach top officials at Evanston’s Civic Center.

In response to a request months ago from Evanston Now, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz agreed to add more names and phone numbers for city officials who frequently interact with the public to the city’s website.

And the new list of 55 people is now online.

Previously only phone numbers for a dozen department heads were listed. The new list adds division heads, city engineers and building inspectors.

At the time of the request, the city’s 311 operators were refusing to give out work phone numbers for city employees. That too has changed.

The city has a complete web-based online phone directory for its nearly 800 employees, but it’s only available to city workers.

Evanston Now obtained a print out of the full directory by making a Freedom of Information Act request.

Bobkiewicz has resisted making the full directory generally available, saying he feared that it might lead to instances of harassment of city workers by estranged former partners, a problem he said once occured in a community in California where he previously worked.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Publish it

    Why doesn't Evanston Now publish the list? It is a public record.

    Bobkiewicz's rationale for keeping it inaccessible is silly. In order to prevent some hypothetical "harassment," he is unduly inconveniencing the 80 thousand residents of the city.

    There are ample laws against harassment and–as you noted–it is a public document, available to anybody. So a would-be "harasser" could get a hold of the list regardless by filling a FOIA.

    From Wally's response, it seems like he is more interested in avoiding making city staff accountable to the public.

  2. Transparency

    Thank you so much for making City of Evanston contact information available to its citizens.   I've lived in Evanston for more than 40 years and have never had so much difficulty getting a question answered by those who are supposed to work for me.  They city workers with whom I speak are inevitably gracious and helpful; only recently have they been difficult to contact.   

    Having lived here for so long a time, I only ask questions that do not necessarily have simple answers.  I pity new residents who don't know how to play the "get an answer" game; you've now made it possible for them to obtain the information for which we all pay dearly.   It's pathetic that it took a Freedom of Information Act request to make our city government accessible.

    Thanks again,

    Judy Fradin

  3. 3-1-1 continues to obfuscate,

    3-1-1 continues to obfuscate, most recently telling me to contact my condo board to learn the meaning of a sticker affixed to a recycle dumpster in my building, presumably by the city's out-sourcing servant.  And I have maybe a dozen calls to 3-1-1 that remain unanswered after 4-6 months.  $900,000+ and removal of staff that knew how to get things processed hasn't done much for me.  I wonder how Wally is writing up his accomplishments on his resume as he seeks his next target.

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