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New manager expected to be named by Oct. 13

Cicely Fleming.

Evanstonians are likely to learn the name of their new city manager by Tuesday.

That’s the word today from Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, who says the City Council did take a decisive vote on who the new manager should be during a six-hour executive session meeting on Thursday.

Fleming, who had sought to have each alderman publicly announce who they’d voted for after the session, lost out on that idea, winning support, she says, only from Alderman Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward.

Fleming and Suffredin have often been together on the losing side of Council votes, so, while Fleming didn’t say so, it seems distinctly possible that the candidate she favored was not the one the Council majority chose.

Fleming and Suffredin also had strongly opposed an effort last spring, led by Mayor Steve Hagerty, to name Interim City Manager Erika Storlie to the permanent position rather than moving forward with a nationwide search.

That effort was dropped after Storlie announced she was OK with going through the search process.

Fleming also sits on the board of a political action committee, the Organization for Positive Action and Leadership, or OPAL.

That group fought against Storlie’s termination of Kevin Brown from his job as community services manager for the city, and in a letter to the council, accuses Storlie of having “a limited racial equity lens,” although Storlie replaced Brown, a black male, with Audrey Thompson, a black female.

Under state law, Fleming says, the new manager’s employment contract must be posted on the city website at least six days before the Council votes on it. A vote on the contract is tentatively scheduled for Monday, Oct. 19.

In addition to Storlie, the finalists for the position are Maria Peoples, deputy county manager for Coconino County, Arizona, and Aretha Ferrell-Benevides, the city manager of Petersburg, Virginia.

The three participated in an online forum Wednesday evening.

Fleming says she now won’t say who she voted for until after the chosen candidate’s name is revealed next week.

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