Evanston officials today said the current city manager search drew 30 applications.

That’s less than half the 70 applicants who sought the job when the city was seeking to replace Wally Bobkiewicz just over a year ago.

That search led to the selection of three finalists and ultimately to the choice of interim City Manager Erica Storlie to replace Bobkiewicz.

Now, after Storlie’s resignation, apparently triggered by discontent about her performance among new council members elected last spring, the council has narrowed the new search to just two finalists, and a city news release says the finalists names will be announced during the week of Jan. 3.

Ahead of a planned City Council vote in executive session at the end of January to select the new manager, the city has scheduled interview sessions and virtual town hall meetings with the candidates to gather community feedback.

Three candidate interview panels will be held Jan. 13 — one for community members, another for city staff and a third for business and nonprofit stakeholders.

Evanston residents interested in participating in the community member candidate panel should complete the City Manager Interview Panel Application form, call the City Clerk’s Office at 847-448-8199, or email cityclerk@cityofevanston.org by Tuesday, Jan. 4.

On Jan. 5, the Evanston City Clerk’s office will randomly select community members from each ward to be a part of the interview panel, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Jan. 13, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Virtual town hall meetings are tentatively scheduled for late afternoon on Sunday, Jan. 9. Community members will have the opportunity to submit questions for candidates in advance via phone or through an online form. More details about the virtual town halls, including a virtual meeting link(s), will be available during the week of Jan. 3.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.