Assistant City Manager position filled by former city Finance Director

Nathan Adkisson

After nearly a year of operating without an assistant city manager, Evanston filled the position two weeks ago.

Martin Lyons, who has been the city’s finance director since August, assumed his new job on March 23, but it was not announced until last Saturday

Lyons’ new responsibilities will involve assisting with the budgetary, financial and administrative operations in the city manager’s office, said Interim City Manager Rolanda B. Russell.

“Marty is a strategic thinker and will continue to carefully guide the city’s budget in a positive direction,” she said in a statement released last week.

The move will help to fill an important vacancy in city government but will lead to another vacancy at the top of the finance department. The city lost most of its top city staffers during the past year after an early retirement initiative was implemented.

As finance director, Lyons presented the budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year and handled the subsequent debate over the proposal. He also discussed with city officials the possibility of a payment in lieu of taxes program, which would seek to offset city deficits with voluntary contributions from Northwestern.

Judy Aiello, who retired last May, preceded Lyons as assistant city manager. Since Aiello’s retirement, Doug Gaynor and Joellen Daley assisted in the city manager’s office. They will return to their previous positions April 12, Russell said.

Before coming to Evanston, Lyons worked in the private sector as area vice president for Gallagher Benefit Services, a firm based in Itasca, Ill., that helps small and middle-sized companies deliver benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans to their employees. Prior to that, Lyons spent nine years in Downer’s Grove, Ill., as the city’s director of finance and information services.