Evanston voters elected a batch of new political leaders this year — five of the nine City Council seats and the mayor’s chair changed hands in the April election.

The new leaders will get their first major test over the next couple of months as they wrestle with how to cope with the city’s projected $9.5 million budget deficit.

But just a month after taking office they hired a new city manager, Wally Bobkiewicz, who had made sharp budget cuts at his former job in California. Now that Bobkiewicz has proposed staffing and program cuts to close most of the budget gap here, the aldermen will have a chance to decide whether what they liked about his work in California they also like when it’s applied here.

Another leadership change this year brought a new president to Northwestern University. Morton Schapiro won some early brownie points with the locals by offering to pay $550,000 for a new fire truck for the city, though that didn’t quite extinguish calls from some that the university should pay more for city services.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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