Since the City adopted the Council-Manager form of government in 1952, it has been an accepted piece of how Evanston operates.

But picking up on comments made by candidates during the campaign, Evanston Together LLC, a new political group, is framing its support around candidates who back the current system.

Under the City of Evanston’s present form of government, the Council-Manager system, the City Manager manages the City on a day-to-day basis. The Mayor and aldermen – whose positions are considered part-time – make policy decisions. 

The League of Women Voters of Evanston (LWVE) noted in its 2000 edition of This is Evanston, “The council-manager form of government attempts to balance representative government via popularly elected officials, who must answer to the voters, and a competent administration vis-à-vis professional staff, who carry out their duties apart from partisan politics.”

The 1952 change from a Mayor-City Council form of government to a Council-Manager system came about by City referendum, the only way a home-rule unit can change its form of government, according to Article VII, Section 5 (F) of the Illinois Constitution.

Mass Mailings From a New PAC

Accusations and innuendoes are swirling around candidates for aldermen in the April 6 election, and using the yardstick of a possible change of form of government, Evanston Together has endorsed a slate of candidates for aldermen and called the opponents of these candidates also a “slate.”

A recent mass mailing referred to a forum held on March 2 but did not specify the host, the Evanston Branch of the NAACP, or those in attendance.

The forum was open only to candidates from specific wards.

 “At a March 2 candidates forum,” Evanston Together’s mailer said, “a slate of candidates said they wanted to get rid of the current Evanston system of government, doing away with a professional City Manager like most cities our size and going to a Cicero-style strong mayor.”