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City of Urbana Administrator Carol Mitten, the lone finalist in Evanston’s city manager search, has withdrawn her name in a mutual decision with the city that she was “not the right fit.”

Carol Mitten at the July 28 town hall meeting. Credit: City of Evanston YouTube

Here is the statement from the city:

“After continued conversations, the Evanston City Council and Urbana City Administrator Carol Mitten have decided that Ms. Mitten is not the right fit for the Evanston City Manager position and will not be moving forward as a candidate. 

“The City thanks Ms. Mitten for her time throughout the recruitment process and wishes her the best of luck as she moves forward in her career.

“City Council is currently in discussions with Interim City Manager Luke Stowe to determine next steps for the City. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”

City manager search history

Council members appointed interim Deputy City Manager and Chief Information Officer Luke Stowe as interim City Manager July 11 as the city continues with the recruitment of its next city manager.

The Community Alliance for Better Government, a local activist group, led an all-out campaign against Mitten’s appointment after officials announced she was the finalist for the job earlier in July.

CABG members staged a protest and used social media to widely circulate articles from a website in Urbana highlighting her role on transparency, policing and issues concerning the Open Meeting Act, saying Mitten was not compatible with Evanston.

At an often-rancorous Town Hall meeting July 28, where activists displayed “No Mitten” signs, Mitten said information circulating from Urbana was “simply not true. The individuals who are spreading this information have a clear agenda, and that agenda means more to them than facts.”

At the meeting, she likened her role to that of a coach, working with city employees, and “help set a path forward on a lot of your aspirational goals that need to be made tangible and then prioritized.”

This was the third failed city manager search this year, and the fourth the city has conducted since longtime City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz left in September 2019.

In January, as council members were still mulling their choice, Baltimore Administrator Daniel Ramos, their leading choice, informed officials he had accepted a job elsewhere.

Then in May, Ann Arbor Assistant City Administrator John Fournier told the city he wouldn’t be taking Evanston’s city manager job after both sides failed to come to a final agreement on his employment contract.

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.

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  1. With all the upheaval of the last few years, within and without Evanston, it seems to me that our search for a city manager has suffered from mission drift. We seem to have lost sight of at least four things:

    1. The primary goal: Hire someone who has the technical qualifications to be a city manager. I suspect the total number of U.S. folks qualified on paper is very small and that the search firms actually have a pretty good idea what that number is. (I would guess a few thousand; definitely not tens of thousands.)
    2. Ongoing bankrupting of local & state governments and ongoing bankrupting of local economies (esp. since 2010 or so), plus Evanston’s peculiar political economics.
    3. COVID’s past (2 years), on-going, and unknown future impact on the job market.
    4. The U.S. has never been a real, participatory democracy and 99% of U.S. adults are chronically frustrated that the systems have never been set up to implement the ideals that we were taught to believe in.

    My new blog fleshes out these points and includes a recent personal experience with mission drift. https://foodfarmsdemocracy.net/mission-drift-in-city-manager-search-evanston-il-3-searches-counting/

    Luckily, our Participatory Budgeting process kicks off Thursday, Aug. 4. At the very least the process will provide a living experience of real democracy.

  2. All of this is exceedingly interesting when it comes time to vote on the strong mayor v. city manager form of government. I think (for whatever it’s worth) having elected officials who we all count on in part-time roles (the mayor and alder-people), accountable to a city manager, who is accountable to alder-people, needs to change. Some positive things have happened to Evanston in the last two years, and some very unfortunate ones that have taken lives through gun violence and created hostile work environments. Evanston taxes are one of the highest in the country. We should expect more from our and be willing to work together to make it happen. Finding solutions that meet a middle ground versus yelling at (or blaming) each other is more productive for the long run. I know I’ll vote for a strong mayor form of government.

    1. But this is exactly what Reid (and maybe Biss) wants. A bungled manager search long enough where they throw up their hands and say, “see we need a strong mayor system.” That’s also why Reid is against rank choice voting because he knows he is unelectable as both alderman and mayor in that system. So then instead of electing a council that represents a ward and is tasked with trying to accomplish the goals of that ward, with a professional city manager, we have a political electee who has no experience as an executive of the city. We tried that with Reid in the clerk’s office and it was comical when he actually had a job with distinct tasks to do. Why have we heard absolutely nothing out of the clerk since he left? Because that’s how it’s supposed to be, someone that does the blocking and tackling. You want someone who knows what their doing keeping the trains running on time as city manager.

      1. Have you watched the council meetings and committee meetings that Reid sits on? Have you noticed how Devon Reid always seemed to know more than Wally, Erika, Kelley, and now Biss and Nick Cummings? Many residents have. Council member Reid is a research king and always has to correct them or remind them of the law or check them on violations CONSTANTLY! They resent him for it. Why? Because knowledge is POWERFUL! And they can’t take that away from Reid ever. Even when they tried to handcuff him in the basement of the Evanston jail, he knew his rights and they’ve been attempting to destroy him ever since.

        1. “Seemed” is doing a lot of work here, Melika. Seeing Reid argue with trained lawyers about constitutionality is embarrassing. He has no clue what he’s talking about. Just because he thinks he knows what he is talking about doesn’t mean he actually does. His track record a clerk was enough evidence for me that he wasn’t qualified for public office. There were so many errors in city minutes, his publishing names of crime victims, taking confidential information out of secure locations, etc….

          He is the Evanston version of Trump: lots of talk, very little substance, makes everything about himself

  3. As evidenced by some of the comments – some in our community require their permission and approval for dissent. Fortunately, we are free.

  4. Question? Why is it not the job of the Mayor to run the city? Forgive my ignorance but that to me would seem to be the job of Mayor. Why are we paying a Manager AND a Mayor?

    1. Hi Trisha, I’m a reporter at the RoundTable and I’ve done some reporting on the city manager search. Evanston uses the “council-manager” form of city government, meaning the city council votes policy and legislation, which the city manager then implements as a sort of CEO of the city government. In this system, the mayor is notably weaker than both the city manager and council members – and this is a deliberate choice. The council-manager form isn’t the only option, and there’s been a lot of discussion about switching to a “strong mayor” form which would move most or all of the city manager’s duties to the elected mayor. I go more in-depth in this article: https://evanstonroundtable.com/2022/07/14/city-government-101-pros-and-cons-of-council-manager-government/

      I hope this helps!

    2. Hi Trisha – Evanston pays the mayor an annual salary of $25,317. It’s a part-time gig to facilitate meetings, help formulate city priorities/goals, and make some hiring decisions. We cannot possibly ask somebody to actually run a city as large and complex as Evanston for that pay (and time commitment) as they have an actual job beyond being the mayor. By contrast, the Chicago mayor makes over $215k from the city (and Lightfoot made $350k+ with other income streams). They are totally different models….We could go to a “strong mayor” model (and pay the mayor the market rate for that responsibility), which has pros and cons. See this letter to the editor for more details on city manager vs. strong mayor models: https://evanstonroundtable.com/2022/07/27/letter-to-the-editor-city-manager-vs-strong-mayor/

      Hope that helps explain it.

    3. Trisha, a mayor is an elected official that needs no professional experience or certification in any particular field. Do the people know you, like you and believe in you? Do they vote for you? That’s the meat and potatoes of being elected. The ideal manager is experienced in day to day municipal operations, usually degreed in public administration or a related field, active within professional associations and networks where they can draw on the experiences of managers around the world. There is no comparison between the capabilities of an average elected official and the average professional manager. It’s like getting famous and hiring your friend who you love to be your accountant versus hiring a competent accountant you can trust to do the job. Managers handle the business that needs to be done, friendship or not.

  5. The current situation is bad for all concerned. Government can only succeed if there is some sense of the common good and civility in public discourse. One has a right to express one’s opinion but not to be rude and disruptive. Evanston is a nice place to live. This will not continue, however, if a small, vocal minority is able to disrupt for their own ends what should be a routine and needed government fucntion.

    1. I am repeating a response on a previous comment that feels the same way you do. I love how no one is making Mitten accountable for her own comment…her own words…that no one forced her to say…that was caught in a recording clip. It’s everyone else’s doing that she withdrew? Wally Bobkiewicz got support. What happened there? He was darn near untouchable. Much of the city council protected him. He had discrimination lawsuits and other big complaints for years, but he was protected. So what happened there? Erika Storlie got support. Please tell us what happened there? Because if it weren’t for the voice of the community, that independent investigation into the big sexual misconduct/assault cover-up never would have seen the light of day. Those top positions were protected for years. Please explain why Erika Storlie left? Luke Stowe is receiving support from both the community and a few of the city officials as he takes on the Interim City Manager position. There has been no backlash against Luke Stowe or city council for that decision. Ramos wasn’t hit with any tough, probing questions. he handled himself quite well and Evanston was prepared to welcome their new City Manager. He was the most liked by the city council and the residents. He chose another deal. How is that any activist’s doing? He made a choice for a family to move to Texas. Fournier had the job. Yes, residents rightfully questioned some things he had in his background. But guess what? City council was going to hire him anyway. He chose not to take the job over negotiations. Fournier could care less about any activist’s questioning his background. He had the support of the city council, but still chose to take another deal. Since when does City Council not do what they want, regardless to how the residents feel about it? Mitten made several statements in a recording. No one forced her to say what she said. That was her truth. And, unfortunately, City Council could no longer support or defend her. Had it not been recorded, she would probably be sitting in the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center right now, receiving congratulation flowers. City Council had pretty much hired her. She spoke her truth and it was damaging. No one made her say the things she said. She was fearless in facing the crowd just like Wally and Erika used to be. These people made choices in their career that was not dictated by any activist. The choices they made were their own. And they all had the support of City Council, good and bad decisions, regardless of how an activist felt. Activists protested and felt Robert Crown cost way too much of the city’s budget before it was even built. Is Robert Crown standing there today? I could have sworn I saw it yesterday when I drove by Main and Dodge? If that wasn’t Robert Crown, please tell us what that monstrous size building is on Main & Dodge?

    2. I hear you saying that Evanston will not be a nice place to live if Black people’s voices are heard. I disagree. Evanston will finally become the city many of us want it to be if Black people’s voices are finally heard.

  6. After spending the last 40 plus years in local government and representing both appointed and elected public officials, and working with local government administrators, I feel qualified to say that the job of selecting a city manager should not be a civic free for all. What is going on is downright embarrassing to our city’s reputation and governance, and those persons working in the community of local governments know it. We have elected representatives from each ward (our alderman) and a mayor who is elected at large by the entire city electorate. These are the people who are our representatives and who should be making the decision on the qualifications of the candidates, not activist groups who are the loudest voice in the room. Their ire or dissatisfaction should be directed to their and our elected representatives, not to candidates for manager. It isn’t just the fact that candidates for the manager job are fleeing. People who work in local government are pretty perceptive as far as taking the temperature of a community and the type of local governance. It doesn’t take too long for each of these candidates to figure out what is going on here. It is pretty obvious that city government is in turmoil and that newly hired department heads such as the prior manager and the police chief have been driven out of town unceremoniously and with no support from elected officials. Far from it. As a resident who is an outside observer, it appears that there is an utter lack of support by elected officials for those persons who are in these top jobs. One mistake (or perceived mistake) and the harpies come after you. I do not know why this is occurring but I cannot imagine who in their right mind would want to take on these top jobs knowing how predecessors in those jobs were treated. The lack of support and downright hostility to persons in those jobs (and to the candidates for those jobs) is going to make it very hard to bring someone in from the outside. This is a great community but it is obvious that the departments that do the day to day work are suffering from lack of top down leadership. I have read some of the other comments and I agree that if there is someone who is currently employed by the city who could take over leadership that would be preferable to an outsider. However, whomever is finally selected, all elected officials must give that person their wholehearted support and help that person succeed and not spend time trying to tear down top administrators once they are hired. You have to show someone that you have their back or you will never get qualified people to stay and it will never be the “right fit”.

    1. Wally Bobkiewicz got support. What happened there? He was darn near untouchable. Much of the city council protected him. He had discrimination lawsuits and other big complaints for years, but he was protected. So what happened there? Erika Storlie got support. Please tell us what happened there? Because if it weren’t for the voice of the community, that independent investigation into the big sexual misconduct/assault cover-up never would have seen the light of day. Those top positions were protected for years. Please explain why Erika Storlie left? Luke Stowe is receiving support from both the community and a few of the city officials as he takes on the Interim City Manager position. There has been no backlash against Luke Stowe or city council for that decision. Ramos wasn’t hit with any tough, probing questions. he handled himself quite well and Evanston was prepared to welcome their new City Manager. He was the most liked by the city council and the residents. He chose another deal. How is that any activist’s doing? He made a choice for a family to move to Texas. Fournier had the job. Yes, residents rightfully questioned some things he had in his background. But guess what? City council was going to hire him anyway. He chose not to take the job over negotiations. Fournier could care less about any activist’s questioning his background. He had the support of the city council, but still chose to take another deal. Since when does City Council not do what they want, regardless to how the residents feel about it? Mitten made several statements in a recording. No one forced her to say what she said. That was her truth. And, unfortunately, City Council could no longer support or defend her. Had it not been recorded, she would probably be sitting in the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center right now, receiving congratulation flowers. City Council had pretty much hired her. She spoke her truth and it was damaging. No one made her say the things she said. She was fearless in facing the crowd just like Wally and Erika used to be. These people made choices in their career that was not dictated by any activist. The choices they made were their own. And they all had the support of City Council, good and bad decisions, regardless of how an activist felt. Activists protested and felt Robert Crown cost way too much of the city’s budget before it was even built. Is Robert Crown standing there today? I could have sworn I saw it yesterday when I drove by Main and Dodge? If that wasn’t Robert Crown, please tell us what that monstrous size building is on Main & Dodge?

      1. “Wally Bobkiewicz got support. What happened there? He was darn near untouchable.”
        Not really, he got pushed out. Several alderpeople weren’t fans and were actively looking to oust him, and he got the memo and looked for other jobs. You’re right that he was around for quite a while though, but there was a shift in sentiment among the councilpeople near his departure.

        “Erika Storlie got support. Please tell us what happened there? Because if it weren’t for the voice of the community, that independent investigation into the big sexual misconduct/assault cover-up never would have seen the light of day. Those top positions were protected for years. Please explain why Erika Storlie left?”
        She got pushed out too. The newly elected alderpeople had enough clout and numbers to overthrow her appointment as they didn’t like her. The sexual assault investigation was a convenient excuse to use for Storlie’s ousting but they wanted to get rid of her regardless — yes, it was a horribly dealt with situation, but after months of investigation and hundreds of pages of reports by a reputable investigation/law firm, Storlie was vindicated as having not done anything wrong (as she was never notified). Who was severely implicated by the investigation? The Parks & Rec Head Lawrence Hemingway, yet somehow he kept his job and Storlie couldn’t? Makes no sense. Yes, he eventually resigned the day before the results were made public and got a nice retirement package whereas Storlie got pushed out months before. I’m sure she’s happy not having to deal with Evanston anymore even though she got a signficant pay cut to go to East Dundee (but got a nice exit package from us).

        “Luke Stowe is receiving support from both the community and a few of the city officials as he takes on the Interim City Manager position. There has been no backlash against Luke Stowe or city council for that decision.”
        We don’t know there’s no backlash until he’s officially a candidate….

        “[Ramos] chose another deal. How is that any activist’s doing?”
        We have no way of knowing what went into Ramos’ decision, but certainly councilpeople telling their constituents that they don’t really like him (Fleming) isn’t very welcoming…

        “Activists protested and felt Robert Crown cost way too much of the city’s budget before it was even built. Is Robert Crown standing there today?”
        Are these the same activists? I’m honestly not sure. Yep, Robert Crown is there! Thankful for the “Friends of Robert Crown” fundraising arm for raising 10’s of millions from private donors. I would think the “activists” mentioned from elsewhere were in favor of bringing a new library, community center, ice rink, and soccer fields to the middle of a less affluent area of Evanston — and then shutting down the library branches closer to affluent areas.

  7. Carol Mitten video clip (Facebook)
    Carol Mitten video clip (YouTube)
    How did Carol Mitten make it to be the finalist in becoming Evanston’s next City Manager? Evanston’s population is about 41% non-white residents as of 2021. Evanston prides itself on being diverse. We became a “Sanctuary City”. We are the “pioneer” to “reparations”. But yet…the city council was ready to rush to hire a candidate who admitted she has no skills in dealing racial equity and admitted to racial equity not being any sort of real priority to her as a leader. She comes from Urbana, Illinois where making statements like that…she felt very comfortable and saw no issue with saying it. That was concerning and quite disturbing to many residents.

    Former City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz cost the City of Evanston in discrimination lawsuits. Erika Storlie didn’t last a year as the official City Manager based on alleged corruption and poor judgement. Ramos and Fournier rejected their offers to be our City Manager. Fournier had a suspect background when it came to racial equity, but the council was going to push him through anyway. These two candidates made a choice to take other positions that had nothing to do with Evanston activists asking logical questions. Interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski took another position elsewhere before city council could find a City Manager. Clearly she was ready to move on. Luke Stowe is known in the Evanston community and has stepped up as Interim City Manager, but yet some members of council are rushing to fill the position without doing thorough background checks. We do not need another City Manager who will be walking liability. And who removed racial equity as one of the many criteria for the Evanston City Manager position? It was criteria for the previous searches. But for Mitten, that criteria was removed by the hiring firm? Who gave them that instruction?

    Mitten stated in the town hall meeting she had a relationship with the NAACP in Champaign County that handles Urbana. The organization was called and they said,”We reach out to everyone! Carol Mitten has never made herself visible to us!” When she was asked about this in the town hall meeting, she took a drink of water and said she worked in the back office and that it was really on the Mayor to have that relationship. So why lie, projecting a relationship she never had? In the case of the young Black woman in Urbana Aleyah Lewis, Mitten said Lewis wasn’t hurt during her arrest, but that the police officer who kicked her in the head and ribs was the one who was actually hurt. This speaks to her mentality towards public safety, police brutality, and humanity period.

    Mitten came across as if she knew she had the position already and if anyone who didn’t support her leadership…oh well. Was she intentionally being brought in to assist certain City Council members in doing the dirty work? The residents were definitely going to be watching to see who voted in favor of Carol Mitten because it would have spoken volumes to underlying motivations. While Evanston needs a City Manager who has knowledge and expertise of budgets and finance, they also have to have skills in racial equity, public safety, and environmental issues coming to a city like Evanston. Bottom line…this person has to move numbers as well as actually care. It looks suspect that certain City Council members and even some residents, who are blaming other residents for simply asking questions, are willing to X out the racial equity criteria. Maybe Evanston isn’t as liberal or diverse or anti racist as it projects.

    It was very un-democratic to have a town hall meeting where the process blocked the residents from speaking. Fortunately, Evanston has residents who care enough to be heard anyway. And had those caring residents not asked the right questions of the candidate who was seriously being looked at to lead the culture within the walls of Evanston’s Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, that very telling recording would not have been recorded. And the recording spoke Mitten’s truth. And we heard it. There was actually more that the public did not hear, but that video clip pretty much said it all. Mitten probably has no regrets in anything she said during the town hall meeting and afterwards. While Mitten might be wonderful for a town like Urbana, who probably think a lot like she does, Evanston and Urbana are quite different. Very.

    1. I don’t know about the local dynamics in Evanston, but as a friend of Carol Mitten, I would like to share some thoughts.

      When Carol said she didn’t have the skills “you” are looking for, she was addressing the woman who asked the question, not the larger Evanston community. People who cultivate the skills in question become diversity and inclusion professionals. Carol was interviewing for the city manager role.

      Still, Carol was selling herself short in terms of her knowledge and understanding of the social justice issues Evanston is facing, and her racially diverse group of friends has been letting her know that. Thanks to Carol, my library includes books like Matthew Desmond’s “Evicted”, Todd Robinson’s “City Within a City”, and Heather McGhee’s excellent “The Sum of Us”.

      If you had focused on exploring some of the tragedies detailed in those books, you would have learned a lot about Carol’s vision of what’s possible and what’s right. You would have learned that she has the cultural literacy that you have every right to demand in a leader. You would have learned that no one is more capable than Carol when it comes bringing solutions to life.

      Instead of exploring those larger issues, though, Carol was questioned about the quality of her personal relationships with Black people and whether she understood code switching. To the people who know her, those lines of questioning were as laughable as they were demeaning.

      Are there legitimate questions about Carol’s tenure in Urbana? Absolutely, and I know she would agree. The question is whether the activist community (and perhaps the Council) in Evanston relied too heavily on a grievance blogger in Urbana to both formulate and answer those questions. The rudeness of some community members and the juvenile signs on display before and during the Town Hall are pretty telling.

      I’ll end where I started, and say that I don’t know the dynamics in Evanston or why the Mayor and Council withdrew their support for Carol. But I do know this: Along with her remarkable competence, Carol Mitten would have brought boat loads of class and intelligence to your befuddled beachfront.

  8. The cries for transparency and community imput have turned the City Manager search process on its head. The City Manager system was created to insulate this position from politcal cross currents. Instead, the hiring process is subjecting candidates, not yet in the position, to just such pressures. The City Manager should be hired by the City Council and responsible for implementing its policies, programs, and budget. Period. The manager should not be largely interfacing with citizen groups. Citizens should be putting those questions, demands to their duly elected representatives on the council. That is their job, not the city manager’s.

  9. Evanston is a wonderful city to work in, and it is time for the Mayor and some others to stop repeating the false narrative that “no one wants to work here” Its’ simply not true. – We have had many great applicants but the process was flawed-the candidates the council selected to put forth were the problem.

    Blaming residents for speaking up and wanting the procedures and transparency that was promised by the Mayor is an easy thing to do, but misplacing blame.

    Questions need to be asked as to why the candidates who were brought to the table and selected, withdrew on the 1st and 2nd search. Fournier withdrew, according the city, because tried to renegotiate his contract But a quick search of Ann Arbor newspapers shows additional information. https://a2independent.com/2022/06/17/after-ann-arbor-assistant-administrator-fournier-backed-out-of-evanston-top-job-evanston-mayor-says-we-dodged-a-bullet
    Maybe the council is making the wrong choices in who they choose. The 3d search firm supposedly had targeted 75 potential candidates according to the city website. https://www.cityofevanston.org/government/city-council/city-manager-recruitment However, the only person brought to the table lacked experience in many necessary areas and by her own words did not have skills around racial equity and social justice. This would have been the person in charge of hiring/firing all our employees and interacting with Evanston residents. How did she get to be the sole candidate at the table for the most important job in Evanston. That’s the question. Don’t blame residents for pointing out the holes in the process and lack of qualifications. Process is important, it sets the rules of the road for everyone.

    In 2019 the city passed a resolution to end structural racism. The 1st and 2nd searches and the 3d search firm didn’t not mention anything regarding skills around equity in the packet they made available to potential candidates, and they brought to the city a candidate who lacked those skills. Then the mayor and council put that person forward as the sole candidate. Are we going to just talk about equity, democracy and transparency or are we going to live it? It’s time to stop demeaning people who are telling you the emperor is not wearing any clothes.

    1. Evanston residents clearly exercise their 1st Amendment rights to speak out, as they should. You will read in my comments, Mary, that I do not criticize speaking out. My objection is to the climate in Evanston that I believe has poisoned this job for the kind of candidate we want.

      I speak from decades of experience hiring people in public and not for profit sector jobs. It tells me in a placement where the number of skilled candidates is smaller than the number of available jobs, the candidates are typically very selective. They read everything. They watch everything. They question whether they want to leave a job and in many case move a family for a job they know is challenging begin with. I suspect that every town hall, every social media stream, every article helps a candidate decide, “Would this job be challenging? Or would it be miserable?” You cite that the most recent search targeted 75 candidates in a highly competitive market. You did not cite how many targeted Evanston. To me, that’s the relevant question. I don’t know the answer, either, but suspect it was not many at this point.

      One of the joys of my former jobs was working with hiring managers who were willing to take a chance on qualified candidates who had made mistakes, serious mistakes, in prior jobs or in life. Some had been terminated for cause. Some had been previously incarcerated – one for a violent felony. These managers were diligent in their pre hire investigations and determined that these blemishes were mistakes and not character flaws. Talented people who make mistakes are often the most committed to their improvement. We placed candidates who were good people, had learned from their experiences and brought skills and perspectives that made our organizations better.

      The relevant lesson to our search is that we are looking for experienced candidates in highly complex jobs, often facing novel situations and working through the complexities of contracts and department policies, which may differ. Many will make mistakes. Big ones. To me, the fundamental question remains the same. Was this a character flaw or a mistake? My concern is that we seem to dismiss the external, independent investigations that find these were mistakes but rather rely on Facebook posts, self published blogs or anonymous emails that claim otherwise. Investigators are accountable. Anonymous sources or opinions are not. As someone who has sat with many hiring managers to lobby them to take a chance on a good person who wants a new start after a pre hire investigation and prepare them to ignore the avalanche of negative Google searched articles, social media posts or the “my friend knows somebody who said” emails (trust me, this happens), this is important to me.

      We agree that Evanston is a wonderful place. Whether it’s a wonderful place to be a city manager is up to potential candidates. They may research and find that we fired the last city manager prior to an investigation. Perhaps termination was appropriate, but investigate first. Then they watched a debate by the same council about reducing the number of votes to fire the yet unnamed replacement. Then they read that if they’ve made mistakes they regret, an investigation may clear them but Facebook posts will not. They read derogatory remarks about them made by our public officials after the fact. ( That’s a potential civil action in the private sector. An organization does not have to make the hire, but cannot damage a candidates’ future employability. Even in the more open public sector, not a good look.) And, candidates may decide that Evanston is a wonderful place. But not to be city manager.

  10. To those clamoring for an internal candidate as our next City Manager, I certainly hope one exists. At this point, it is nearly impossible imagine that an experienced, qualified external candidate would express interest. This is our fourth “no” eight months. In hindsight, the right thing to do would have been to extend Ms. Gandurski until the job could be rehabilitated in the eyes of external candidates.

    1. Respectfully, she was an attorney by trade with no municipal management experience. She should not have been named interim. There was another deputy with a longer tenure in the office and a progressive history in city management. Miss Gandurski was chosen over that deputy who later left for a bigger management role (i.e. a promotion) in a bigger city. Now neither one of them is with the city of Evanston. That was a poor move by the mayor and people familiar with local government administration could spot it a mile away. That’s why you have city managers…to warn you not to make bonehead decisions like that.

  11. Look within…don’t we have talented people who could become City Manager?
    Promote them before they leave!!

    1. You have to look within when no one else is interested. Evanston is a national embarrassment at this point in this saga. Or farce. Maybe now people here might start to realize how truly dysfunctional this place is. Doubt it though, their heads are too clouded by their closed minded illiberal ideology in Evanston. So glad I bought a place out of state. Only keeping the house here for rental income from students. Without NU this town would be Waukegan or Gary, IN. This place is truly sad.

      1. To you national embarrassment, to me pride. I am proud to live in a city where activists figure out how to be heard. I appreciate Carol Mitten’s willingness to answer. I appreciate City Council hearing that we didn’t like the answers.

  12. Once again, a small collection of loud acrimonious voices prevails over reasonable deliberation.

  13. At this point, it’s not about the candidates; it’s about Evanston. I watched some of the video of the informal conversation with some of the “activists” after last Thursday’s meeting, and it’s a shame that a vocal few are being allowed to keep derailing the city manager selection process. I do not believe the CABG represents the majority of Evanston.

  14. I sure wish we had internal candidates. Perhaps that too should be in job requirements for future and all existing leadership roles.

  15. It seems that certain groups in Evanston are more interested in sounding off than in reaching sensible results. Having spent many years in local government, this does not surprise me. What does sadden me is the unwillingness of the council and other decision makers to stand up and do the fair and sensible thing.

    1. Evanston council and gov in general are more concerned about potentially hurting someone or some groups feelings than actually governing and turning this place back around into a functioning city. It’ll take Evanston turning into SF and the kind of backlash they finally had against the impractical left out there until we actually see change here: I’m afraid we have years of this ahead of us until we bottom out and come to our senses like SF did this year.