In an email to Evanston Now Saturday morning, John Fournier challenges the version presented by city officials of events leading to his decision to decline appointment as Evanston’s next city manager.
A city press release issued Friday afternoon said that after Monday’s 9-1 vote to approve his contract Fournier on Tuesday “sought to reopen contract negotiations, requesting additional compensation.”
Fournier provided a copy of a letter he sent to Mayor Biss declining the job offer.
Fournier says that after learning more about the cost of housing in Evanston he sought to have the City Council restructure the contract provision giving him relocation assistance.
The contract approved by the City Council structured that assistance in the form of an interest-free loan of $225,000 toward the purchase of a home here that would have been forgivable in eight annual increments if he remained employed as city manager.
Fournier’s letter says he had sought to have the Council consider “restructuring some of the compensation (without increasing it) to facilitate down payment assistance on a house and relocation costs.”
With mortgage interest rates currently around 5%, the interest-free loan effectively would have added about $11,000 to his annual compensation, and the forgiveness provision would have added another $28,125 a year.
With the forgivable interest-free loan and other benefits, Fournier would have earned about 25% more a year than the former city manager, Erika Storlie.