City Council says goodbye to Peter Braithwaite and Kelley Gandurski at Monday meeting


Daily file photo by Emma Edmund

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) at a City Council meeting. Residents and council members honored Braithwaite in his final public meeting Monday.

Saul Pink, Reporter

Monday’s City Council meeting was full of goodbyes. 

Councilmembers and Evanston residents honored Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) and interim city manager Kelley Gandurski, in their final meeting before departing their roles. 

Braithwaite announced his resignation at the June 27 council meeting after 11 years representing the 2nd Ward. Gandurski announced her departure for a land use and government law firm the following day. 

The council unanimously approved Luke Stowe, Evanston’s chief information officer and interim deputy city manager, to replace Gandurski on Monday. 

Mayor Daniel Biss praised Braithwaite’s “completely constant clarity” of his priorities before presenting a plaque to thank the councilmember. 

“The time that you’ve been willing to give to walk me through things and share your view on things and educate me has been enormously valuable,” Biss said. 

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) noted Braithwaite’s work as chair of the Alternatives to Arrest Committee and Reparations Committee as highlights of his time on the council.

Braithwaite began a new job in February as director of procurement diversity and community engagement at Northwestern.

“I will continue to live in and serve in different capacities in this town,” Braithwaite said. “So it’s really not a goodbye, but a welcome to doing new things with more focus.”

Gandurski took over as the interim city manager in September after former City Manager Erika Storlie’s departure amid allegations of a culture of sexual misconduct at the lakefront. 

Biss said the city asked Gandurski to do “way more than she signed up for,” noting that the interim city manager usually serves for just a few months, but Gandurski held the role for nearly a year. Biss also presented a plaque to Gandurski.

“I have been given the tremendous opportunity to not only lead some of the finest staff I’ve ever met, but also to implement some programs and policies that really matter to people’s everyday quality of life,” Gandurski said. 

The city is still looking for a permanent city manager after spending about $95,000 on the search process so far. 

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) said much of Gandurski’s work has gone unrecognized. He mentioned opening Evanston’s beaches on time this spring as one of Gandurski’s hidden accomplishments. 

“It was an enormous challenge that happened behind the scenes, invisible to most folks in the community, and not something that the city council was tracking very closely,” Nieuwsma said. “But that required a lot of work and Kelley and her team made sure that happened.”

Stowe began his role as interim city manager Tuesday. Biss hosted a town hall meeting on the city manager search Tuesday night, but was not able to provide any updates on the search process or potential candidates. 

Braithwaite’s predecessor, Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste, thanked Braithwaite for his service during public comment. 

Jean-Baptiste stressed the importance of choosing a good successor to Braithwaite. The city has not announced what process will be used to fill the 2nd ward position.

 “I want to wish on us collectively a great choice to follow Peter so that we can continue to have quality representation in the second ward, whoever that choice might be,” Jean-Baptiste said.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @saullpink 

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Ald. Peter. Braithwaite to resign from City Council after 11 years

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