The City of Evanston announced Friday afternoon that the City Council intends to appoint John Fournier as the next Evanston city manager.

The statement says contract negotiations are currently underway and a decision is expected “in the coming weeks.” 

John Fournier is the assistant city administrator of the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

While there he’s been credited with helping to lead projects developing multi-modal transportation infrastructure and programs and alternative energy initiatives.

As interim human resources director for two years, Fournier is also credited with helping to make Ann Arbor an innovative and challenging workplace of choice for talented persons interested in careers in public service. 

Previously Fournier worked in the City of Pittsburgh. As the chief of staff to a member of City Council, the deputy chief of staff to current Mayor Bill Peduto, and finally as the director of on-street and metered parking for the City of Pittsburgh.

While there he helped restructure Pittsburgh’s finances, implement technology forward solutions that revolutionized the city’s curb-space management programs and pursued transformational investments in Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods that are said to have brought life back to the city’s main streets.

Fournier and the other finalist for the city manager’s job, Snapper Poche, were interviewed by Mayor Daniel Biss in a public candidate forum earlier this month.

Following that session one community group, the Community Alliance for Better Government endorsed Poche for the job, saying both candidates were “highly intelligent civic leaders with strong track records” but that they preferred Poche for “his willingness to listen, and to acknowledge a mistake and to rectify it.”

The City Council held two closed-door meetings this week to debate the merits of the two finalists before announcing the decision.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. In my humble opinion, this is astonishing since Mr. Poche was by far the most qualified candidate to move Evanston in a direction most compatible with our civic goals and aspirations! This seems like a victory for the “status quo”…Mr. Fournier has a number of dark clouds surrounding his professional life! The following is borrowing from my friend, John Moore who sums it up nicely:
    “Mr. Poche appears to have a much better mix of strategic vision and practical experience that we need for our city, especially given Evanston’s “weak” mayor form of government. In contrast, my general concern with Fournier would be that he would lose the forest through the trees, managing to the status quo without moving us forward.

    I very much liked the fact that Poche understands the essential need to run the city taking into meaningful account the views and needs of different communities within Evanston (and we have many). Poche has strong practical experience with city government (helping to revitalize NOLA post-Katrina certainly qualifies as a major job!) and some of his specific suggestions to work on issues like affordable housing, code violations, and performance-based budgeting were well-grounded in both experience and intelligence. ”

    Respectfully submitted, Brian G. Becharas

  2. I am also extremely disappointed that the city council chose Fournier. He was not as qualified in practice and realistic vision for Evanston. Although on paper he seemed like a good candidate, listening to him talk gave one a sense that he was playing to the crowd and not authentic or sincere. He’s in it for playing and winning “the game,” not for helping the city or other people.

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