Human Services Committee advises City Council not to negotiate with CARE


Julian Gerez/The Daily Northwestern

Gail Lovinger Goldblatt, a member of the CARE board, raises concerns Monday with city manager Wally Bobkiewicz’s proposals on the future of city relationships with volunteer animal organizations. At Monday’s Human Services Committee meeting, the committee voted to recommend that City Council not negotiate with CARE if the group does not accept Bobkiewicz’s conditions.

Julian Gerez, Assistant City Editor

The Evanston Human Services Committee decided Monday to recommend that City Council not negotiate further with the Community Animal Rescue Effort about new proposals that would govern the city’s relationship with CARE and other volunteer animal organizations.

Ald. Delores Holmes (5th) said no matter what happens with the future of the shelter, there should be the respect, cooperation and communication for “any kind of partnership to work” between the city and the organization that runs the shelter.

“Everybody has fault in this, and I think the city has fault in this,” Holmes said. “But we’ve learned and we want to move forward.”

Last week, aldermen on the committee decided that if CARE is to continue working with the city, it must accept the provisions put forward by city manager Wally Bobkiewicz on March 24, including the approval of a new animal control policy and the creation of an Evanston Animal Shelter Fund. 

(Evanston gives animal nonprofit one week to respond to provisions)

The CARE board of directors responded to the provisions Friday in a letter to Bobkiewicz. Bobkiewicz said in his memorandum to the committee it is “unclear” to him if “CARE wishes to engage in further discussions on an agreement using the policies developed as a framework or not.”

Gail Lovinger Goldblatt, a member of the CARE board, spoke at the meeting on behalf of the board. She was one of 21 citizens who signed up to comment at the meeting. She asked for clarification on some of the draft policies and raised concerns about the policies themselves and the potential unintended consequences of the proposals submitted last week.

“For us, the term negotiation implies a give-and-take and discussion and some compromise,” Lovinger Goldblatt said. “Our understanding of this process was that there was going to be a policy presented and CARE was going to be told to take it or leave it.”

However, Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) said Lovinger Goldblatt’s comments were “a little bit frustrating because we have had this agreement out for two weeks and have not had a response from them until this weekend.”

“It’s time for us to say that this is over,” Fiske said. “We’ve continued this discussion for so long, everyone else has gotten up here and commented on the draft agreement. I’m not willing to go back and start over from where we were a year ago.”

Ald. Mark Tendam (6th) echoed Fiske’s sentiment. He described the fact that CARE has chosen to raise these issues now as opposed to when the draft proposal was open for public input as a “loss” for CARE.

“This is the eleventh hour, it’s time to really just finish this business,” Tendam said.

The aldermen voted unanimously to bring Bobkiewicz’s recommendations before City Council. Toward the end of the meeting, the aldermen voted 3-1 in favor of recommending that City Council not allow CARE to continue operating out of the Evanston animal shelter for another year if it does not accept the recommendations.

City Council will discuss the issue Tuesday night.

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