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Carol Mitten, who is currently the city administrator for Urbana, Ill., a job she has held for four years, was announced Wednesday, July 20, as the latest and only candidate for the post of City Manager, according to a news release.

Carol Mitten Credit: Submitted

“She has also served as the executive director for urban affairs and headquarters consolidation in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

City officials scheduled a town hall at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 28, in the Council Chambers of the Morton Civic Center. Mayor Daniel Biss will moderate. This event, the release said, will be “part of the final decision process.”

Mitten has more than 35 years of “diverse management experience and a deep passion and appreciation for local government and the positive impact it can have on the lives of its citizens,” including serving as “deputy county manager in Arlington County, Virginia, where she oversaw economic development and public works, including transportation and sustainability,” according to the city release.

Mitten attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated from Ohio State University with an undergraduate and masters degree in business administration.

CABG reaction

“We’re glad that the residents will have the opportunity to meet the candidate before there’s any final decision,” said Lesley Williams, president of Community Alliance for Better Government, a grassroots citizens activist group that has played a leading role in demanding transparency throughout the search process. “And it was particularly gratifying that the language of the [city’s)] press release says that this is part of the final decision process.”

CABG has played a forward role during the process, calling out the council for lack of citizen involvement, even staging a street protest over the record of one candidate.

“But we do want Mayor Biss and the [City] Council to know,” added Williams, “that we are holding them to their word – that this is part of the interview process, and that we assume that there have been no prior negotiations, indicating that she’s already obtained the job. And that would be seen as a true violation of the public trust if that’s the case.

“Although there’s going to be a formal town hall,” Williams noted, “in the previous searches there has always been an interview panel with either residents who are stakeholders, or both, and we are looking forward to hearing about other opportunities for the public to give input other than that one town hall.

“But we look forward to meeting Ms. Mitten and hearing more about her record. And I’m sure that not just CABG, but many of us, and residents and organizations will be taking a very close look at her performance in Urbana and seeing if she really has the values that that Evanston needs in terms of anti-racism and government responsiveness and transparency.”

Wednesday Town Hall

Those attending the Town Hall can submit questions in person or online via Zoom. People who can’t attend must submit questions online by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27.

Community members can attend the meeting in person, join via Zoom, or watch live on City Channel 16 and the City’s YouTube channel

To join via Zoom: Phone, 312-626-6799; webinar ID, 816 4997 6797, and passcode: 450124.

For additional information regarding the city manager search process and final candidate, call or text 847-448-4311 or dial 311 in Evanston.

Bob Seidenberg

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

Susy Schultz

Susy Schultz is the editor of the Evanston Roundtable. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and is the former president of Public Narrative, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching journalists and...

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  1. I’m so glad CABG is speaking out about this and I appreciate their leadership! Mitten’s history in Urbana is very disturbing: her efforts to reduce transparency in government and her failure to address the racist history of the Urbana police department are particularly troublesome to me. Our future city manager—the most powerful member of Evanston City Government, should represent our City’s values. Mitten’s history demonstrates that she does not.

  2. Very interesting comments by William & John. I thought that article was about Carol Mitten; City of Evanston Lack of transparency; accountability. ALSO, lack of public participation in the discussions process in these MAJOR decisions. I have been involved in many groups, (in the last 6 years), including CABG and I agree with everything that was said. Why are you questioning CABG, instead of Carol Mitten? I suggest you read what info is available on Carol Mitten and comment on that. Thank you.

  3. How many people do “CABG” actually represent? You seem to give them an outsized voice in this article. As far as I can tell it is made up of just a handful of people who have no broad constituency.

  4. The Community Alliance for Better Government insists on transparency and fails to provide such about themselves – it is time for an investigative piece about CABG and where they think their credibility comes from.

    1. Can you be more clear about what you want from CABG in regards to transparency? And why you think they (we) are not credible?

  5. Not crazy about the Ohio State connection, hah, but she seems like she’s worked in a couple relatively stable places. Hopefully she recruits and brings in competent economic development people to replace what we’re stuck with currently. Good luck Carol!