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BREAKING NEWS: Lone city manager finalist withdraws

City of Urbana administrator Carol Mitten, the lone finalist in Evanston’s city manager search, has withdrawn her name in a mutual decision with the city that she was “not the right fit.”

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 (CABG), a local activists group, led an all-out campaign against Mitten’s appointment after officials announced she was the was the finalist for the job earlier in the month.

CABG members staged a protest and circulated widely over social media articles from a website in Urbana, highlighting their 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, with activists displaying “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 it is the fourth search the city has conducted since longtime City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz left in September of 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 the sides failed to come to a final agreement on his employment contract.

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