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Recap: 81st City Council inaugural meeting

Evanston's new City Council was sworn in this evening.

Evanston’s new City Council was sworn in this evening.

The ceremonial session is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

The meeting agenda is available online.

The meeting is reconvened at 7:42 p.m.

Outgoing Mayor Steve Hagerty hands off the gavel to incoming Mayor Danial Biss, who’s sworn in by Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste.

Mayor, clerk and aldermen take the Athenian Oath of Citizenship.

Invocation from Pastor Monte Dillard.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, taking the oath of office.

Biss individually swears in the aldermen and clerk.

Call of the wards

Kelly … Thanks family and campaign supporters.

Braithwaite … Says he’s excited about city’s future and opportunities that lay ahead.

Wynne … Thanks the voters, etc. Sees next four years as interesting and challenging in ways we’ve never seen before. Praises city staff and city manager.

Nieuwsma … says he wants to hear grievances, and good ideas from residents of the 4th Ward. Will have ward meeting on 1st Tuesday of each month … at the Robert Crown Center.

Burns … thanks voters … recalls knocking on doors during a blizzard. Says would like to see more renters on boards and commissions dealing with housing.

Suffredin … thanks family.

Revelle … thanks husband and campaign volunteers. Looking forward to working with new council — new ideas the new members bring.

Reid … says last four years have been challenging — with COVID and renewed discussion about racial equity. Makes referral to make beaches free for residents this summer — “end the racist policy of charging for beach access.” Nieuwsma says he favors eliminating the fees.

Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings says the motion is out of order during call of the wards.

City Manager says the mayor and city manager can place a special order of business on the agenda.

After much parliamentary procedure discussion, the vote is to place the item on the agenda for introduction as a special order of business on May 24.

Reid also moves to place a COVID-19 resolution on the May 24 agenda to require hazard pay for retail workers of $4 to $5 an hour in Evanston. Burns seconds.

Wynne says issue requires a thorough community discussion about fair wages. Suggests should be referred to a committee and go through the regular process of deliberation. Says she won’t support it as a special order of business.

Braithwaite minimum wage discussion was rushed and created a lot of confusion with the business community. Says I’m going to need to have some time to discuss with my business owners. Says need to be mindful of all of our stakeholders. Says don’t have enough workers to open up restaurants for the summer.

Nieuwsma says supports the concept, but says such a bold idea needs to be deliberated and have stakeholders being engaged. Doesn’t want to foreshorten the process.

Reid says would only apply to large corporate businesses — Jewel, Target, Whole Foods — not local restaurants.

Wynne says we depend on Target and Jewel for sales tax revenue and jobs for the community.

Burns says its not a permanent wage increase — it’s hazard pay. Says it’s time sensitive — the hazard is now.

Motion carries 5-4. Voting against — Braithwaite, Wynne, Nieuwsma, Revelle.

Fleming … thanks family, etc. Announces that this will be her final term. Ward meeting Wednesday, May 18, at Robert Crown. Makes referral to Rules Committee regarding provision to have the deputy clerk report the the city clerk rather than the city manager.

Clerk Mendoza … thanks family, etc.

Mayor Biss … says remembers that works for the people who didn’t vote, or voted for somebody else — “they’re all my boss.”

Says mix of experience and new ideas on the new Council is excellent.

Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

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