On the eve of a shift in the gender balance on City Council, aldermen are scheduled to vote Monday on an ordinance to give themselves gender-neutral titles.

Under state law the officials elected to represent wards in a city are called “aldermen.” But City Manager Erica Storlie is advancing an ordinance that would add “alderperson” and “City Council member” as acceptable alternative titles for an alderman.

Except for the period from 2015 to 2017, after Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl appointed Brian Miller to replace Colleen Burrus, Evanston’s City Council has had six female and three male members at least since 2005.

Next month, the new City Council sworn in following this month’s election, will have five male and four female members.

In 2011 then Alderman Jane Grover proposed switching the title to “council member.”

But the change was shot down by the Rules Committee after other female aldermen spoke against it.

Earlier this month the State House approved HB0045 which would formally change the title of “alderman” to “alderperson” across the state. The bill is now in the Senate Committee on Assignments.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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