3 replies on “Guest essay: Open letter to Evanston’s Mayor and City Council on City Manager search”

  1. After reading this well-put-together essay, I feel that we’re spinning around in a whirlpool. With no success to date, could our biggest tenant NU be utilized to help solve our dilemma?

  2. While I’m sure there has been a lack of transparency in the process of searching for and hiring a city manager, I am very uncomfortable with the notion that a focus on racial equity is the singular quality needed in a new city manager.
    I was impressed with some of what Fournier had to say in the Town Hall interview in that regard, personally…and while I admit to not being an expert in this area myself, I was hugely impressed with Fournier’s expertise in critical issues facing our community…e.g., budgeting, harassment policies, even parking conflicts.
    While I respect the passion of those who singularly seek a racial equity focus in the choice of a candidate, I want it to be clear that there can be reasonable differences in opinion in relation to how racial issues should be explored and addressed in our community.
    Having grown up in Evanston, lived here since 1963, I have long been dissatisfied with the community’s approach to racial challenges, dissatisfied with activists on both sides of the issue, and have seen the dysfunction of the school districts in addressing the “achievement gap,” for example.
    An African centric curriculum offered at Oakton school was supposed to address this, yet I’m not at all sure the children in that program have fared significantly better than children not in that program. Schools that focused exclusively on raising test scores of the lowest 15% of children in their school improvement teams did not succeed, while all other needs were not attended to.
    Racial equity is a tough challenge, to be sure. And, at the same time, Evanston has a broad number of other challenges. I just want to make it clear that there are reasonable people in the community, who care about racial justice and about the environment and about the many challenges we face as a community, who feel differently about who we should have as a city manager.
    I absolutely want to see a transparent process that addresses the concerns of the residents of Evanston, but I fear that the divisiveness in our community now, that is reflected in the City Council, is turning off potential city managers who don’t want to come to a city riven with conflict. It will be a very tough task to find someone who wants to work here, in my opinion.

  3. I just want to say thank you to all the people that wrote this article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns.
    I too am concerned with the City’s process and would hope that they have learned to include the citizens of this great city. We need a City Manager that we all can trust to be fair, equitable, non-racist, honest, and trustworthy as well as concerned for ALL citizens!!
    Please keep the process open and transparent!!

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