Quantcast

Evanston: ‘Exciting place to work’

Evanston’s new city manager says that one thing that’s surprised him in his first three months on the job is the number of city workers who consider the town "an exciting place to work."

Wally Bobkiewicz says that’s the first time in two decades of working for local governments he’s heard that.

Evanston’s new city manager says that one thing that’s surprised him in his first three months on the job is the number of city workers who consider the town "an exciting place to work."

Wally Bobkiewicz says that’s the first time in two decades of working for local governments he’s heard that.

And despite facing the prospect of a severe budget crunch that could require a nearly 10 percent cut in general fund spending next year, Bobkiewicz says most employees tell him they feel the city "has good salary and benefits."

But it’s not all rosy. He says employees say it takes too long to get things done, they don’t have the right equipment, there’s too much bureaucracy and the city hasn’t set priorities — everything is considered equally important.

Bobkiewicz told aldermen Monday that employees see opportunities for greater cooperation with Northwestern University and for making better use of residents as volunteers.

He said he’s also been talking to a lot of residents and says he hears more complaints from them about parking than anything else.

He said he thinks the city can find ways to improve parking regulations that will still raise revenue but not be as annoying.

He also said he finds the city is not very customer-friendly.

"We don’t do as good a job as we should of providing simple information, or making it easy to make payments to the city," he said, "and we can do a much better job of receiving input from residents as well as communicating to them."

Also on his list for improvement — City Council meetings. He said "the format of council meetings doesn’t make the best use of anybody’s time" and city staff "doesn’t provide enough tools for aldermen to do their jobs."

Editors’ Picks