Interim City Manager Rolanda Russell has announced the appointment of Martin Lyons as finance director for the City of Evanston.

“Martin will bring to the City of Evanston significant experience in Illinois municipal finances, including TIF’s, bonds and budget preparation. I am thrilled he has chosen to come and work for us,” Russell said in a statement.

Martin Lyons

Lyons, who starts work in Evanston on Aug. 11, will supervise the city’s divisions of accounting, revenue and purchasing and the city’s M/W/EBE program, accounts payable and payroll.

Lyons replaces Matthew Grady, who resigned last December just 16 months after starting work as finance director. Grady, who had been deputy finance director in Detroit, replaced long-time finance director Bill Stafford, who retired from the city and now has a similar finance position with Evanston Township High School.

Lyons will be responsible for preparing the city’s annual budget, a task that has grown increasingly difficult in recent years as the city has struggled to deal with a public safety pension deficit now estimated at $145 million and other financial strains.

For the last five years, Lyons was area vice president for Gallagher Benefit Services where he reportedly introduced numerous cost-saving programs to municipalities

Before that, Lyons was the director of Administrative and Financial Services/Treasurer for nine years in west suburban Downers Grove, a community with a population of about 49,000.

He served as the investment manager for all corporate and pension assets for the municipality. He was also the budget director and introduced a consolidated budget and five year planning to the village.

Lyons held the positions of finance director, treasurer and assistant finance director in LaGrange from 1988 through 1993.

Lyons holds a master’s degree in business administration from Keller Graduate School at DeVry University. He completed course work for a master’s of public administration and received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and economics from the University of Illinois, Champaign.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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