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City Council’s Rules Committee, which met at the end of the April 17 City Council meeting, lightly examined two of its policies but took no action to change either of them. Discussion of these policies, which dealt with how the City allocates its advertising dollars, came to the Rules Committee as a result of the recent campaign and election.
The Rules Committee is composed of the nine aldermen and the mayor. Its regular meetings are held at 6 p.m. in the aldermanic library, generally on the first Monday or the month.
The issue arose when some community members requested the City refrain from spending taxpayer money to advertise on a website they alleged posted racist comment. In light of that Alderman Brian Miller, 9th Ward, referred the matter to the Rules Committee, which sets Council policy. Discussion on the issue devolved instead into a discussion of specific media content rather than an assessment of City policy.
Aldermen decided to defer action on the second agenda item, the policy of selection of a financial institution. Mayor-elect Steve Hagerty is a member of the Board of Directors of First Bank & Trust of Evanston, which is currently the City’s financial institution.
The City has used First Bank & Trust of Evanston as its financial institution since 2012, when it executed a four-year contract with a one-year extension with the bank. City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz told the RoundTable, “Since the terms of agreement were unchanged, the agreement was extended the one year administratively.”
Fourth Ward Alderman Don Wilson, who chairs the Rules Committee, said he felt the committee should wait until Mr. Hagerty is sworn in as mayor before they would discuss whether that dual role represents a conflict of interest for Mr. Hagerty or the City. Once he is sworn in, Mr. Hagerty will be a voting member of the Rules Committee. By email, Mr. Hagerty told the RoundTable, “I’m still in the process of transitioning into this new role and as part of that looking at all of my other commitments and potential conflicts of interest, real or perceived. I expect to make a decision before I am sworn in.”