Luke Stowe, after his appointment as manager was confirmed.

The City Council, at a special meeting Tuesday afternoon, voted 9-0 to name Luke Stowe Evanston’s new city manager.

Stowe, who was named interim city manager just last month, is a ten-year veteran of Evanston city government.

After three failed searches in recent months for an outside candidate to take the city manager’s job, the council members announced plans last Friday to appoint Stowe to the position.

Luke Stowe and Daniel Biss.

The motion to appoint Stowe manager was made by Ald. Devon Reid (8th) and seconded by Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th).

After the vote, Mayor Daniel Biss thanked Stowe “for taking on this role” and thanked council members for coming to agreement on his appointment.

“This unanimous vote is a signal,” Biss added, “everyone can get behind this decision because we’ve seen Luke at work” and his ability to work with everybody.

With Luke, the mayor added, “when people disagree, it’s not the case that one of them gets shut down.”

Stowe called his appointment “a tremendous honor and a privilege,” and said he looks forward to getting to work immediately.

No packet was provided for Tuesday’s meeting, which typically would have included a copy of the city’s contract with its new manager. Evanston Now has filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking a copy of the contract.

Update 3:40 p.m.: Evanston Now has now received a copy of Stowe’s contract in response to our FOIA request.

Here’s an analysis of how Stowe’s contract compares with the ones offered to John Fournier, the Ann Arbor, Michigan, assistant city manager who turned down the city manager’s job in Evanston last spring, and to Erika Storlie, Evanston’s last city manager, when she was named to the position in October 2020.

Key compensation componentsStoweFournierStorlie
Salary$250,000$245,000$225,000
Deferred compensation$20,000$20,000$18,000
Estimated annual value of interest-free forgivable mortgage loan$0$39,125$0
Total$270,000$304,125$243,000
Difference from Storlie’s contract11%25.15%

Stowe will earn salary and deferred compensation 11% greater than what Storlie was offered just under two years ago.

The city has offered interest-free forgivable mortgage loans to some key employees who the City Council wanted to live in the city.

Storlie, who already lived in Evanston, was not offered the mortgage loan benefit. Stowe, who lives in Libertyville, is not being required under his contract to move here.

Fournier was offered an interest-free loan of $225,000 toward the purchase of a home here. It would have been forgivable in eight annual increments if he had remained employed as city manager.

With mortgage interest rates currently around 5%, the interest-free loan effectively would have added about $11,000 to his compensation, and the forgiveness provision would have added another $28,125 a year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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