Evanston aldermen held a closed-door meeting Monday night to brief incoming members of the City Council on progress in the search for a new city manager.


Evanston aldermen held a closed-door meeting Monday night to brief incoming members of the City Council on progress in the search for a new city manager.

Five new people will take office next week on the nine-member council and will be on board for interviews with finalists for the city manager’s job and the ultimate vote on who to select.

A consultant who has advised the city on the search was in attendance at Monday’s council meeting.

It’s believed the current council has narrowed the field of candidates to four or five finalists who will be interviewed over the next several weeks.

Interim City Manager Rolanda Russell is scheduled to retire this summer. She was initially hired as assistant city manager by Julia Carroll, who resigned from the city manager’s job a year ago for health reasons.

Carroll’s resignation came less than two-and-a-half years after she arrived in Evanston from a position in Naperville’s municipal government.

She drew attention to the city’s public safety pension funding crisis and put in place an early retirement program that reduced the size of the city’s staff at a time of looming budget problems.

But more senior city staff members took advantage of the retirement plan than initially forecast, leading to complaints about a “brain drain” at city hall.

Aldermen have said they want the new city manager to both have a sound grasp of financial issues and the communication skills to effectively manage and motivate the city’s work force in a time of shrinking resources.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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