Tom Suffredin, in a file photo from November 2019.

Evanston aldermen have voted to give the next city manager a bit more job security — agreeing to require seven votes to fire the person they hire for the job.

“I think it’s crazy that the highest paid employee has to only keep three people satisfied with his work to keep his job,” Alderman Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, said.

The mayor and the nine aldermen would get to vote on whether to fire the manager.

“I think it should be a simple majority” to dismiss the manager, Suffredin added.

The City Council’s Rules Commtitee was acting Monday on a measure to eliminate a discrepancy between the Council’s rules and the city code. The rules now say seven votes are required to terminate the manager, but the city code says it would just take five votes.

Assistant City Attorney Alexandra Ruggie said she wasn’t sure when the discrepancy first developed. She said the default provision in state law only requires a simple majority vote, but that home rule communities like Evanston are free to set a different standard.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said one of the advantages Evanston has in looking for a new city manager is that it has never fired a manager in the past.

She said that since it now requires seven votes to hire a manager, it should require the same number of votes to fire one.

As one of the few aldermen who’ve been on the Council long enough to go through a manager search in the past, she said it shouldn’t be easy to fire a manager because it is a lot of trouble to hire a new one.

Suffredin was joined by Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, in voting against the change to have the Council rules and the city code both specify that seven votes are required to terminate the city manager.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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