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In a message released this afternoon, Mayor Stephen Hagerty said he has decided not to seek a second term.
With Erika Storlie as the new City Manager, he wrote, “I know our City is in good hands. This feels like the right time to announce that I have decided not to seek re-election in April 2021.”
His message continued, ““This was not an easy decision. I love this City. I love many of the City staff, elected officials, community partners, and residents I get to work and interact with on a daily basis. But, most importantly, I love what we have accomplished together over the last four years, in spite of a current global pandemic, economic downturn, contentious differences, and the rising public distrust that exists for our elected leaders and government institutions.”
Mayor Hagerty outlined some of the challenges the community will face in the coming months, such as persevering through the present economic hardships and addressing the growing socioeconomic disparities and continuing to prepare youth for careers and honor the diversity of the community.
The text of Mayor Hagerty’s note “A New City Manager, A New Mayor” is reprinted below. His message contained several recommendations for residents, and these appear in the Public Square section of this website.
A New City Manager, A New Mayor
Today was a good day for Evanston. Erika Storlie was sworn in as our City’s 9th City Manager.
Our Council-Manager form of government, common throughout the United States and adopted in Evanston in 1952, combines the political leadership of elected representatives with the strong, capable experience of a professional public administrator. Arguably, the most important job of the City Council and Mayor is to select the full-time CEO of this City.
It is the City Manager who leads and oversees our 800 employees. She is the one who sets the tone with City staff and helps them implement the Council’s collective vision and policy direction. It is the City Manager who must draft the initial budget for the Council to consider. The one who must deftly balance the needs of 10 elected representatives (9 Aldermen and a Mayor), all with different styles and priorities. And the one who ultimately is responsible for the efficient, effective, and responsive delivery of government services that we all rely on each day, from public safety, to fresh drinking water, to safe roads and beaches, to smart and sensible new development in Evanston, to policies and practices that are good for the climate, good for racial equity, and good for our community.
Erika Storlie knows Evanston well. She, along with her wife, Kristi, reside in Evanston with their four children who all attend D65 schools. Erika rose up through the ranks starting as an analyst in 2004 and becoming our Interim City Manager a year ago upon the departure of our longtime City Manager. Since then, Erika has done an outstanding job building a team, including her appointment of Ike Ogbo as our City’s Health & Human Services Director, capably leading us through the worst pandemic since 1918, and astutely managing our finances so that our 2020 deficit was kept down to just 10 percent of our General Fund budget.
Erika’s values are Evanston’s values. She demands good government. She treats people with respect and fairness. She does not cater to one elected official over another. She is a problem solver. She cares deeply about the environment, racial equity, affordable housing, and good policing. She negotiates well on our behalf and always has the City’s best interest in mind. She is just the type of person we should want in this 24/7 demanding job; a job where many difficult decisions need to be made that inevitably leave some angry and vocal. I am confident Erika will lead with integrity and help us continue on our quest to be one of the most livable cities in America.
Please join me in welcoming Erika Storlie as our new City Manager.
A New Mayor
With Erika’s elevation to City Manager, her proven track record, and deep knowledge of Evanston, I know our City is in good hands. This feels like the right time to announce that I have decided not to seek re-election in April 2021.
This was not an easy decision. I love this City. I love many of the City staff, elected officials, community partners, and residents I get to work and interact with on a daily basis. But, most importantly, I love what we have accomplished together over the last four years, in spite of a current global pandemic, economic downturn, contentious differences, and the rising public distrust that exists for our elected leaders and government institutions.
The challenges that lie ahead for Evanston are significant – providing essential services with less, rebuilding our local economy, wisely balancing our budget and reallocating our assets, preparing all our young adults for productive and successful careers, honoring the diversity of our community, and addressing growing socioeconomic and racial disparities. I am proud of what I, the City Council, our indefatigable staff, and the citizens of Evanston have set as our agenda on these issues. But I think it is time to take a break and allow for another to take the role of Mayor and help us continue to move forward.
If we have learned anything from 2020, it’s that leadership and character matter. We are blessed in Evanston to have many gifted leaders who want to make a difference. Now is the time to step up and serve your City, whether it be in elected service, appointed position, or volunteering. Learn more about all of these opportunities below.
While holding elected office is always demanding, and even exasperating at times, the opportunity to serve others is deeply rewarding. I have been honored to serve as your Mayor and look forward to doing everything I can to see us through the pandemic and support the efforts of our new Mayor and Council starting in May 2021. Until then, I will continue to do my best to lead us with grace, courage, and integrity through these uncertain times.
With deep respect and gratitude for all that each of you do for Evanston.
Onward, Stephen H. Hagerty, Mayor, City of Evanston