Evanston’s city staff has grown significantly faster than its population during this decade.

As of last February the city had five percent more full time employees than it did in 2000. That’s a growth from 838.59 full-time equivalent employees to 884.24 during that time.

By comparison, between 2000 and 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, the city’s population grew by one percent — from 74,239 to 75,543.

City Manager Julia Carroll says staff salaries and benefits account for 72.3 percent of the city’s general fund budget. That means the extra 46 workers cost the city more than $3 million in the 2006-07 fiscal year.

This chart, based on data in the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, shows how the employment rolls have changed by department.

Staffing chart

The chart has been adjusted to reflect departmental reorganizations as of the beginning of the current fiscal year.

Carroll said an updated employee count will be provided at the City Council’s first budget hearing on Saturday, Jan. 12, which will reflect a net 17 positions cut in the current year’s budget.

She’s proposing eliminating nine jobs, five of which are now vacant, in the new city budget, while adding six new positions.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Bill – this is the same problem we had in 1992
    Bill – I will give you a copy of the “Diet” back in 1992 the city staff was at 854 with a population of about 73,000 in 1972 staff level was at 767 – the “DIet” basically felt at that time Evanston had 150-200 more employees than other suburbs

    They recommending cutting $3 million dollars in staff in 1992!

  2. Rules & regulations increase faster than . . .
    1. How many new ordinances have been passed during the same period? I don’t know either, but I imagine it’s a dumpster load! It takes time, staff and money to follow rules in both corporate America and in municipal government. Passing ordinances for the City is like going to WalMart for the average citizen. i.e. it costs to go. Just thinking about an ordinance results in something getting promulgated, just as a trip to return something at WalMart results in another purchase. And ordinances cost money, whether it’s police enforcement or zoning regulations or what have you. It all costs something.
    2. It seems to me that the consultants that the City has hired in the last few years should be added to this statistic. Outsourcing is not getting tracked and has an even greater impact on “the spending plan” (known as the budget, in corporate circles).
    3. Park and recreation needs a haircut, as does the legal department. A crew cut, actually, is what’s in order. And a shave.
    4. Interesting that the increase in Community Development is only one person, yet a large proportion of new ordinances are theirs to administer. Also interesting that Community Dev. had a record amount of permit revenue. i.e. more work than ever. Either they are over-staffed or heroes.
    5. Interesting that there is no Facilities Management Department, which may explain why the Civic Center and other City owned buildings are not properly maintained. Perhaps this is one department that should be re-constituted.
    6. Lots of people are about to leave due to taking early retirement, which is an enormous opportunity. The City should not replace these retirees and promote from within. That will save some money!

    1. Facilities management
      Thanks for the comments, Francis.
      FWIW, the facilities management function hasn’t disappeared. Under the 2007-08 budget it became a division within the public works department. The financial report says it had 23 people as a separate department in February 2000 and 21.2 people in February 2007.
      — Bill.

  3. Apples to Apples
    Interesting piece, Bill. One thing that I think gets forgotten when comparing employee counts amongst suburban communities is the differing services provided. How many other suburban Cook County cities and villages provide parks, libraries and trash collection? I bet most have park districts, library districts and use private waste haulers.

    1. More fruit, coming up…
      Thanks for the comment.
      I’m already working to gather data for some comparison stories. We’ll see what turns up.
      — Bill

  4. The question is, why the increases?
    Regarding areas showing large increases in staff: information services apparently relates to IT or computers and technology, which has changed rapidly over the last 7 years and could account for the increase. However, is the increase in Parks and Forestry staff because of tree-related issues we’ve had recently regarding Dutch Elm and Emerald Ash Borer, or is this staff increase for other programs? Parks & Forestry accounts for half of the salaries you mention.

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