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Dear Evanston friends,
On Aug. 12th during executive session, the Evanston City Council determined that they would appoint Deputy City Manager Kelley Gandurski as interim City Manager. Gandurski was hired to “lead the City’s Law Department as corporation counsel/city attorney” in March of 2020 and joined the City Manager’s office in April of 2021. This means she was working as chief legal counsel under Storlie when the accusations of sexual harassment were brought to the department and ignored, and will be part of the investigation. This is not a situation to inspire trust in the Council, or the City Manager’s office.
Gandurski’s appointment is an untenable and unethical conflict of interest. Instead, the Evanston City Council must appoint an interim manager who is unconnected to the City Manager office, and untainted by the scandal under investigation. Two options are available for Council to consider: the appointment of a qualified City employee removed from the scope of the investigation, or retaining the services of an executive search firm specializing in local government. Although hiring an outside firm will incur costs, we should remember that last year’s bungled City Manager search, and other poor personnel decisions have ultimately resulted in far greater costs, including loss of morale, loss of productivity and lawsuits.
The City of Evanston must learn from the mistakes of the previous Council. (Editor’s note: The letter invites readers to contact their Council representative and to view a petition on the CABG Facebook page.)
Community Alliance for Better Government
Evanston Fight for Black Lives
Organization for Positive Action and Leadership