One account announcing the appointment of new Evanston Police Chief Shenita Stewart, who boasts strong local roots and has a vivacious personality, describes her as very highly qualified. One city administrator was even quoted as saying Stewart fulfills Evanston’s “core values.” Of course, I wish her only the very best.
But do “core values” include bypassing required city hiring practices? Do “core values” allow the very rare suspension of 10-day public postings of open positions? However qualified, a “preferred” inside candidate appears to have landed the job without much serious consideration of other applicants. Under this highly unusual so-called “referral only” hiring approach, those applicants seem to have been mere props in a preordained decision-making process.
It reminds me of a practice I observed when employed as a Springfield journalist. The practice was used to skirt a legal requirement that any veteran applying for an Illinois state job must be interviewed in person. This noble idea was a way to help pay back those who served our country. But in reality, veterans got mostly sham “interviews,” usually lasting just minutes. Why? Somebody else was going to get the job, no matter what the veteran’s skills.
“Core values,” indeed.