Devon Reid.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) says Evanston is “falling behind on compensation,” and too many municipal employees are leaving in search of financially greener pastures.

Reid told a virtual ward meeting Thursday night that a couple of mechanics at the service center “went to other neighboring communities,” where their pay each went up by several thousand dollars.

Add in inflation, Reid said, and Evanston is not doing enough in “creating a culture of caring” for the city staff.

Currently, the city’s website lists more than 20 non-seasonal job openings, from plumbing inspector, to garden co-ordinator, to police officer.

There are also top management vacancies which are not listed on the job site, such as city manager and police chief, which are at least filled by interim officials until permanent replacements are named.

There is no such thing,however, as an interim mechanic.

In addition, community development director Johanna Nyden just resigned to take a position in neighboring Skokie.

While pay is far from the only reason why people change jobs, Reid indicated that money and working conditions cannot be ignored.

Of course, raising salaries means raising the money to do that.

Reid suggested that selling the Civic Center for private development is at least worth considering.

That building, where Reid once worked as city clerk, has “parts … [which] are constantly falling down.”

There is often a bucket on the floors to catch debris, he added.

The city will likely see personnel costs increase soon. Mayor Daniel Biss has noted that the city’s four labor union contracts expire at the end of this year.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Join the Conversation


  1. Sorry Devon, the reason employees are leaving is because of the management at the top. The City of Evanston has become so politically correct that no one can get anything realistic done around here without constant fear of lawsuits.
    Why does The City of Evanston need to upgrade their storage facilities to be “green” when there are much more pressing needs that take precedence? Why does the City of Evanston need to replace their fleet so constantly with the newest vehicles? Too much money is being spent in low priority areas and then the leaders cry that more money is needed. At the same time, the middle class has been, and is continuing to be, pushed out when the wealthy continue to waltz their way in with money and insist on providing housing & benefits for the lower income and people who live on benefits. The middle class provide a solid workforce and plenty of tax revenue, but they have been leaving in droves and cannot afford to live in Evanston any more. Why not require city employees to live in Evanston? The job of an alderman is to serve h/s/her/their constituents, not to push for higher pay for employees who, if one reads their full benefit packages, are already compensated quite well, frankly. Reid does not understand economics, nor city planning.

  2. Maybe if we spent our resources and time wisely, we could allocate more to comp. Let me see…3 failed city manager options, wasted time on silly legislation, pay offs so we can fire people who aren’t guilty, programs which don’t work, loss of beach revenue, etc. Decisions are tough, but each one can impact the other. Alderman, please live in the world the rest of us have to grind through where we don’t get the luxury of eating our cake and having it. So out of touch…

  3. Devon is prepping us for an attempt to raise aldermanic salaries. His single handed misuse of staff time and his cockamamie “great ideas” are exhausting everyone who comes in contact with him.

    1. One of the first things he pushed for after the election was aldermanic salary raises. A majority of the others on the council did not support it at the time, thankfully.

      I don’t doubt that he will bring it up again. For whomever runs against him I think it is good to emphasize that one of his first proposals was to boost his own salary. One of his other pet projects is to get the police department to stop publishing arrest reports which are public records. Apparently there are limits for Mr Transparency from the guy who has had multiple arrests over the years.

      The actions fit into the very true narrative that Reid is more interested in pushing his own narrow personal interests and ideological agenda than actually improving the community.

  4. Salary has nothing to do with staff leaving. The working culture in the city is discriminatory and evil. Women are held to a higher standard then men, and minorities are held to varying standards depending on their position. The HR department is who should be responsible for ensuring fair treatment, but they are the ones perpetuating the discrimination. Don’t be fooled into thinking they learned anything from the lakefront situation other than how to better cover up their tracks. Employee moral is at an all time low, many want to leave but can’t BECAUSE of the salary, and those that get out would tell you how relieved they are to be rid of the burden that is working for the city of Evanston

  5. Does he really believe this? Maybe he does…I’m going to put it simply: Evanston is not a desirable place to work. You can work the same jobs for the same or more money in less messy places. The citizenry has a right to high expectations of their workforce. The catch is it is going to cost you. Between the residents sense of entitlement and the council’s relationship with and questionable treatment of staff…why work here when you could work elsewhere?

  6. There’s a pattern. When Reid gets bored (which is often, since he doesn’t hold a full time job), he proposes things — lots of things. The other council members then must spend hours (literally!) discussing his ideas. And staff then must do all the legwork for every single idea he dreams up. Amazing to think how much havoc one person can have on an organization.

  7. Leadership in this community is a literal joke. Immediate needs are passed over for idealistic long-term goals which are laudable but not the best use of today’s dollars. An uneducated elected leader wastes everyone’s with stupid solutions for problems that don’t exist clearly trying to get his name in the news. Public safety is an understaffed disaster, tons of unfilled positions but leadership (particular aforementioned outspoken one) won’t adjust the budget in a time of 9% inflation to make pay in line with neighboring community cost of living (is it better to have underpaid cops working longer hours??? NO). Commercial and entertainment options flagging. My significant other and I are young professionals that could move into our first long-term home on the northeast side and pay tons of property tax, but why? I doubt we’ll think twice of moving off to greener pastures, there are too many suburbs nearby offering a better living experience from several perspectives. City leadership should take note that current policy direction is not encouraging young up-and-comers to stick around.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *