The Evanston City Council intends to appoint Interim City Manager Luke Stowe as Evanston’s next city manager.
In an announcement Friday afternoon, the city said the Council expects to vote on Stowe’s appointment at a special meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 16, and conduct a performance review after nine months that will include opportunities for public input.
This decision was reached after multiple rounds of nationwide searches.
Qualified candidates withdrew from the process at every phase, the news release says, including the most recent stage when, before a single candidate was introduced to the public, two of three finalists removed their names from consideration for personal and professional reasons.
Simultaneously, the city experienced significant challenges that come during a time of interim leadership, including staff departures, service cutbacks, and more.
These experiences led the City Council to determine that Evanston would be best served at this time by an internal candidate with vast institutional knowledge and broad respect from community members, City staff, and elected officials.
“Luke earned this appointment through his distinguished service to the City, demonstrating during a uniquely contentious era an extraordinary ability to build bridges and work constructively with just about everyone,” said Mayor Daniel Biss.
“It is time for our organization to get moving again, and to do so in a way that includes and respects all stakeholders; Luke is exactly the right person to make that happen. Let’s get to work.”
Stowe has been interim city manager since July 12. Before that, he served as interim deputy city manager since February 2022, overseeing several City departments/divisions such as Fire, Health and Human Services, Finance/Budget, Parks and Recreation, Information Technology, and Administrative Adjudication. Stowe has worked for the City since June 2012 and has held many positions, including director of administrative services, chief information officer, and digital services manager. Stowe also served in critical roles for the Emergency Operations Center during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stowe brings nearly 25 years of local government experience to his role. Before his service in Evanston, he held related management and technology positions in Lake County and Champaign governments and the private sector. Stowe was previously recognized as one of the “Top Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” by Government Technology Magazine and was nominated for Local IT Leader of the Year by StateScoop.
Luke Stowe seems like a solid pick but let’s not forget it was Mayor Biss, Fleming, Suffredin, and new members of the Council who hastily pushed to remove former City Manager Erika Storlie because someone needed to be held “accountable.” Had they taken the time to learn the facts (see Independent Counsel’s report exonerating Storlie) and extend to her due process she would likely still be the City Manager, many key city staff would have stayed, and this entire fiasco would have been avoided.
It is time for the City to move forward and I hope the Mayor and Council have learned that fast, arbitrary decisions, without all the facts, do not serve the best interests of the City.
We wasted all this money for searches that were a huge failure. So now we take the easy way out. Why is there no public comment ? A totally dysfunctional government with no sense of what the people of Evanston actually need. PATHETIC.
Hi Jeff, feel free to email or call me anytime with suggestions, ideas, or comments you may have. firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-448-8177. Thank you.
Thank you for responding. But you are not getting my point. The point is that we have spend all this money again, with no results.
This has been done with no discussion with the community. There is no transparency, no discussion. We residents are frustrated with the way the council is proceeding.
As you can see from other comments, you have resident a perception issue.
Just like the lifeguard issue, no transparency and seemingly taking the easy way out.
Jeff, I hear you and understand your concerns. My door (virtual and physical) is always open on any topic. Feel free to contact me if desired. Thank you.
Let me guess what’s next. STP will complain that it’s not ‘fair’ that a white guy got the City Manager job. Lots of picketing and whining to follow.
Mr. Stowe’s 9 month performance review is a personnel matter. It’s absurd that the public will be allowed to weigh in! If his past performance was good enough to earn this promotion, the public doesn’t need a say in his career development.
Amen, Kelly Marcelle. An “oppotunity for public input” is really an opportunity for whoever is carting around grievances of one kind or another to have an outsize say at the expense of people who simply want a functioning city government.
Maybe we could just thank Mr. Stowe for his years in Evanston so far, and wish him the best as he moves into this new position.
Leave a comment