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Field Questions for Manager Candidates – Evanston Now

More than 160 Evanston residents watched Sunday afternoon as the new city manager’s two finalists answered questions online about how they would run the city.

There was no interaction between the two – Michael Jasso and Daniel Ramos – who had separate, nearly an hour-long, sessions to answer questions from a representative of the consultancy the city hired to find managers.

Both men said their ancestors were from Mexico.

Jasso, who is in his 50s, appeared with a photo of the Council Chambers of the Sacramento, California City Hall as a zoom background.

He was lively in his responses and seemed relatively comfortable under questioning.

Michael Jasso.

Jasso grew up in the Chicago area and said he considered attending Northwestern University before choosing to get his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University instead.

He said that during his decade and a half in the Chicago and Cook Counties government, he spent much time in Evanston and that his brother got married here at the Orrington Hotel.

Although Evanston, at 78,100 residents, is much smaller than Sacramento, which has over 500,000 residents, where he is now one of four assistant city managers, Jasso said he values ​​Evanston “a real city with real problems.”

And it’s the right size to test a course on how other cities can respond to these issues, he added.

“With the right guidance, Evanston can set a model course,” said Jasso, not just for Illinois but for the nation as a whole.

When asked about his experience working with diverse communities, Jasso replied that a Harvard University study last year ranked Sacramento the most diverse city in the United States

But he added that diversity alone does not mean justice, nor does it solve all problems.

Ramos, in his early 30s, seemed more tense when answering questions.

Daniel Ramos.

He said he grew up in Los Angeles and went from intern to deputy chief administrative officer in a decade working for the Baltimore, Maryland city government of 609,000 residents.

When asked about his skills in working with various communities, Ramos said that although he did not grow up in Baltimore, “I came, learned, and made the connections to get things done” in the city, which is 60% is black and has a growing Latino community.

Ramos said that while he has no direct oversight of the police functions in Baltimore, he has worked on programs aimed at reducing youth violence by providing mental health resources that young people need to change their lives.

He said he believes Evanston has made a good start with his Reimagining Public Safety Committee to address these issues.

A recording of the interviews is due to be available on the city’s YouTube channel on Monday.

Candidates are due to be in Evanston Thursday and Friday for interviews with city council members and committees of city employees, businesses, and nonprofits, as well as community residents.

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