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Consider all the leadership changes in Evanston within a span of two years: two school superintendents, city leadership including our mayor, city council, city manager, and department heads including police chief, Northwestern University president, Evanston Community Foundation president, and others.
We can probably agree that our community wants and deserves more of the best and the brightest professionals to serve in Evanston, including our next city manager. Managing a city government with a $360 million annual budget and over 800 employees requires experience and a specific and deep professional skillset. We are a complex community with singular assets, engaged residents, and interesting challenges.
So who wouldn’t want to serve in Evanston’s city government?
Candidates who are among the best and the brightest have choices. Evanston competes for qualified candidates with other local governments. A city manager candidate does their homework before committing to a new community, perhaps moving their family for a job they know can be subject to political uncertainties.
It’s so important that the process to find a new city manager include community priorities and input. Experience shows that our community can play a role in recruiting the best candidates, and perhaps also in deterring them. Yes, city manager candidates must meet our community’s expectations, and the best and brightest candidates expect this community to make a winning sales pitch.
Former Seventh Ward council member