Californian named Evanston city manager

Evanston officials say they've selected Walter J. Bobkiewicz III as Evanston’s next city manager.

Bobkiewicz's appointment is scheduled to be approved at the City Council's June 22 meeting. Bobkiewicz300w.jpg

He is currently the City Manager of Santa Paula, Calif., a position he’s held since 2002.

Santa Paula is a community of about 29,000 people about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles that calls itself the Citrus Capital of the World. In land area it's a little more than half the size of Evanston.

Bobkiewicz will be arriving in Evanston as the city faces a severe budget crunch.

That shouldn't be totally unfamiliar to him. The Santa Paula City Council last month adopted a budget that calls for elimination of 18 jobs from the city's workforce of 149 people.

Santa Paula's total spending for the year is scheduled to be $49 million, less than a quarter of Evanston's current annual spending.

Bobkiewicz previously was assistant city manager for Novato, Calif. for four years, and also spent 10 years working for the City of Long Beach, Calif.

Bobkiewicz grew up in suburban Chicago. He has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said, "We were all extremely impressed with his proven leadership and management abilities, his financial skills, and his warm, engaging personal style.

“Two members of the City Council, Alderman Ann Rainey and Alderman Mark Tendam visited Mr. Bobkiewicz’s community and interviewed his current elected officials, his staff and other community leaders," Tisdahl added, "They were able to confirm everything we saw in the interviews and more.”

Bobkiewicz has a background in economic development and serves as executive director of the Santa Paula's redevelopment agency.

The Los Angeles Times reports that he has played a major role in promoting the blue collar community -- even leading a public protest when the paper took the town off its weather page that led the paper to reverse its decision.

As assistant city manager in Novato, he managed the implementation of the reuse plan at the former Hamilton Army Airfield.

Since August 2005, he has served as Interim Executive Director of the Ventura Council of Governments.

Bobkiewicz is also a blogger, posting updates since 2004 to a city-sponsored blog and blogging for the Ventura County Star newspaper about his trip to Washington for the presidential inauguration last January. He says his blogging has helped him be connected to the community.

Bobkiewicz also has done volunteer work, serving as a member of the Syracuse University board of trustees from 2007-2009, vice chairman of the Ventura County United Way from 2007-08 and chairman of the Girl Scouts Councils of California from 1996-99.

He has been a member of the Santa Paula Rotary Club since 2002. Mr. Bobkiewicz’s salary will be $185,000. He will begin work on August 3 and will live in Evanston.

(Bobkiewicz photo from Syracuse University.)

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Comments

Evanston no Santa Paula

The community of Santa Paula - is no match to Evanston - it is very moderate income community. It is largely Hispanic.

Only 157 households make over $200,000, the education level is much lower.

Bobkiewicz may be very surpised at the citizen involvement here.

Bobkiewicz may have been able to make cuts in Santa Paula - but he will have his work cut out for him here.

Sweet Deal

Welcome Wally.

$185,000 salary + City subsidized housing & vehicle = one helluva sweet deal. Way to go!

Wally's World

Before all cynics begin to post their well-heeled and 'educated' diatribes on how they see the new City Manager floundering in his duties, let's give him a chance to at least open the door to his new office and for a brief moment feel that he is welcomed into our community.

New city Manager

So whatever happened to the open minded, liberal thinking, "embrace your neighbor" Evanston I used to know? Seems like the liberal people of Evanston actually are, ironically enough, fairly mean spirited, selfish, self centered, just like we've portrayed conservative Republicans to be over the years. Funny thing huh?

Open minded?

"whatever happened to the open minded, liberal thinking, "embrace your neighbor" Evanston I used to know"

It never existed - or, at least, there was always another Evanston too. Evanston has always had stuffy, closed-minded, nativist NIMBYs who are opposed to outsiders and enquiring minds, who think that they are unique and charming because they are lifelong residents.

Opposed to outsiders?

Why would Nimbys be opposed to outsiders someone has to buy their McMansions? We just don't like phony enquiring minds!

Give that man a logo T-shirt

The negative, challenging comments expressed before the guy even gets here are a measure of the extreme discontent residents feel over recent and current city administration. Let's hope he has the experience and empathy to recognize that and jump in ready to make big changes.

Lots of luck

Let's see how quickly Mr. Bobkiewicz adopts the attitude "what the heck did I get myself in to?" just like the previous city manager. I have always advocated hiring from 'within' as to not exclude anyone, but that we should hire someone who knows what they are getting themselves in for.

The position of city manager has to be the most thankless job in Evanston since it's hard to determine who actually is managing the city.