Apparently frustrated with a survey that didn’t tell them much, aldermen on the Human Services Committee this week rejected a staff recommendation to do another survey about the city’s equity and inclusion efforts.

Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, said, “We know what our needs are. They haven’t changed in a really long time. At this point we should be in action plan mode.”

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, said, “We can’t do anything with answers to ‘How you feel.’ We can’t make decisions on what to do from that.”

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, said the city could always change direction later and dosurveys focused on whether it’s actually providing the services that residents need.

The city’s equity and empowerment coordinator, Pat Efiom, said that she hoped to make more efforts to reach out to community residents who don’t participate now.

But Fleming said, “People are not going to be rushing to town hall meetings if there’s not follow-through. People feel a little burned out.”

“We have to be really clear about what we’re looking for from people,” Fleming said, “Just to engage for the sake of engagement is not what I envision for empowerment.”

Rue Simmons suggested staff should reach out more to the faith community and attend more aldermanic ward meetings as a way to connect.

Related story

Equity survey says blacks most likely to attend Council (8/5/17)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Problem is that the Equity Coordinator’s Job is ill-defined

    The main problem here is that it is unclear what the “Equity and Empowerment” job is supposed to accomplish. It’s not like hiring a traffic engineer or health inspector where the deliverables are known.

    The City Manager created this position without clearly defining the problem it is designed to solve. 

    The job advert had a bunch of stuff about “assessment,” so I guess Efrom took that to mean executing non-scientific surveys.

    It doesn’t seem like much thought was put into this position.  Since the City Council failed to pass the parking fee increases to meet the current budget shortfall, maybe this position would be a good one to start with when developing the list of layoffs.  I don’t see what value we are getting from this position–and apparently neither do Fleming or Rue Simmons

    1. Same old way of increasing staff

      The motto of so many of the social agencies in Evanston seem to follow the “Ready, Fire, Aim.”  Neither the designers or implementers seem to have any idea of what the real issues are or what to do about them. They appear to think crying racism defines everything and the cure is pour more money out to groups they favor.

      But the city departments do this in so many other ways—bike lanes, bike signs are just a couple.

      Their alternative  motto seems to be “Spend [taxpayer] money and everything will be great.”

    2. I could see this position as

      I could see this position as a possible threat to some elected officials. The so called democratic process relies on a candidates known supporters voting, not the general population. Bottom line is bringing everyone to the table creates uncertainty for politicians. 

    3. no kidding!

      Well..that was yet another Wally flub!   More wasted money……can anyone stop him?

  2. waste

    The industrial diversity complex exists only to line the pockets of gender and racial study majors at the great expense of taxpayers. 

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