John Fournier.

Evanston’s City Council is scheduled Monday to appoint John Fournier as city manager with total compensation roughly 25% higher than that of his predecessor.

The city announced May 13 that Fournier, currently assistant city administrator in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was the council’s choice after two rounds of a selection process to find a replacement for Erika Storlie.

Storlie resigned last summer, less than a year after she was promoted to the city manager’s job, after several newly-elected aldermen sought her ouster.

Under terms of the contract scheduled for a Council vote, Fournier will start work as manager no later than July 18 and may be terminated by the council at any time with or without a hearing. His base salary will be $245,000, compared to a base salary of $225,000 for Storlie

He will be required to live in Evanston and will be offered an interest-free loan of $225,000 toward the purchase of a home here that will be forgivable in eight annual increments if he remains employed as city manager.

With mortgage interest rates currently around 5%, the interest-free loan effectively adds about $11,000 to his compensation, and the forgiveness provision adds another $28,125 a year.

Storlie, who already lived in Evanston, was not offered the forgivable loan package.

The city also agrees in Fournier’s contract to pay $20,000 annually to a deferred compensation retirement plan for the new manager. Storlie was offered $18,000 in deferred compensation.

Fournier, as Storlie did, will also qualify for vacation, holiday, sick leave, IMRF retirement and health and life insurance and other benefit programs offered to the city’s non-union employees.

And he’ll receive $400 a month for use of his own car on city business and be entitled to reimbursement for other business and professional expenses. Storlie received a car allowance equivalent to that of city department directors.

Key compensation componentsFournierStorlie
Deferred compensation$20,000$18,000
Estimated annual value of interest-free forgivable mortgage loan $39,125$0

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Am I alone in thinking this is completely out of line and a serious slap in the face to Evanston taxpayers? How does this package compare to positions like this throughout the area?

    1. He’s running a city with a $360M budget. The compensation, in general, seems reasonable for the scale of work and responsibility versus other comparable (especially non-government) opportunities. I’m sure the offer was based on what we thought he would accept, and we have to bid competitively as the last candidate taught us.
      Sure, you could low-ball a $125,000 offer and drag this process out for another year or two while paying consultants to dredge up the most desperate contenders and end up paying $190,000…is that what we want? Pay consultants $150/hr and spend $200,000 to save a few dollars?
      I would prefer to see less of a base salary with more of a bonus structure based on performance against metrics. Maybe that is something we can bring up in the final vote.

  2. I really wish they had not given him such a disproprotionate raise over Storlie. It smacks of men being paid more than women and valued more just because they are men. I’m also upset that his more dominant personality was rewarded over Snapper Poche who seemed to me to be a better fit for the job. Please change his slary to one where he is being given the money per performance against metrics. This is realy a case of bias and it’s upsetting.

  3. A 25% performance bonus is standard in management positions that own P&L. This should be no different. Evanston seems to be hemorrhaging money to consultants and management gaps in filling these positions. Not a great position given the decrease revenue we’ve seen here over the last couple of years.

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