By Bob Seidenberg
With Evanston City Council members still mulling their decision, the leading candidate to become the city’s next City Manager has accepted a job elsewhere, leaving the City at square one.
The City issued a release today, stating that the leading candidate for the job, Daniel Ramos, had notified the City that he had “accepted a prestigious position with another community.”
“As the City Council does not see a path forward with the current search, it intends to restart the search process with a new executive recruitment firm as quickly as possible,” the City’s statement said.
“Evanston City Council greatly appreciates all candidates who applied for the position and the many community members and stakeholders who have participated and provided their input throughout this process,” the statement said.
“The City Council is committed to a community-informed search and will provide updates to the community as soon as more information becomes available”
Ramos, the Deputy Chief of Staff/Deputy City Manager for the City of Baltimore and the other top candidate for the job, Michael Jasso, the Deputy City Manager in Sacramento, had appeared at a town meeting Jan. 9, presenting their credentials to become the City’s next city manager.
The two had followed up that session, appearing before citizen, business and stakeholder groups later that week, responding to questions.
On Jan. 18, the Community Alliance for Better Government (CABG), an Evanston grassroots activist group, had endorsed Ramos, citing his responses concerning the role institutional racism and economic inequality have played in government decisions.
Council members had met in a closed Executive Session following their Rules Committee Jan. 19, with support reportedly strongest for Ramos, but arrived at no consensus choice.
Under Council rules, a supermajority vote, or seven of ten votes (the mayor is included) is needed in the appointment of a city manager.
Council members were scheduled to resume discussion at an executive session following their Jan. 24 Council meeting to see if consensus could be reached on Ramos’s selection.
The move marks another setback in the city’sl effort to find a city manager to lead the City forward.
Members of a former City Council had named Interim City Manager Erika Storlie to the top post in a controversial move in October 2020, bypassing two outside candidates already in top manager roles elsewhere.
Just short of a year later, Storlie ended up resigning her $225,000-per-year post.
The city then turned to California-based CPS HR to conduct a shortened search to fill the position, moving Kelley Gandurski, the city’s former Corporation Counsel, into the interim position until an appointment was made.