Evanston aldermen a week from tonight are to discuss procedures for selecting our new city manager. They should be sure to include the opportunity for the public to meet with the finalists for the job.


And not just some small group of hand-picked residents sworn to secrecy about the session. The entire public and the press should have the opportunity to meet with candidates whose identities have been publicly announced.

That has not typically been the process here in Evanston in the past — either for the City Council to select city managers or for the school boards to select school superintendents.

The general public has been kept in the dark — supposedly to protect the privacy of the candidates in the search.

But as we learned from the process by which our last city manager, Wally Bobkiewicz, found his new job in the Pacific Northwest, it doesn’t have to be done that way.

If Tacoma, WashingtonClackamas County, Oregon, and Issaquah, Washington, can all publicly announce the candidates for their top government job and schedule meetings with them for the public before the governing body makes its final selection, Evanston should be able to find an outstanding new city manager while letting the public meet the finalists as well.

And there’s precedent for announcing finalists and inviting the public to meet them in Illinois as well. That’s how Urbana conducted the search for its city administrator in 2018.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. what were the prior processes

    I recall that the process of hiring the last city manager was behind closed doors. The city council appears to unanimously feel that worked out well.

    What was the process when Julia Carroll? Given her short tenure, that seems to have not worked out as well. Was she along with other candidates publicly vetted?

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