Carol Mitten will not move forward as Evanston’s next city manager

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Source: City of Evanston

Carol Mitten, the latest city manager candidate, will not take on the role.

Isabel Funk, Summer Editor

Carol Mitten will not be Evanston’s next city manager, the city announced Tuesday. 

Mitten and City Council decided after further conversations that she was not the right fit for Evanston’s city manager position. City Council is in discussions with Interim City Manager Luke Stowe to determine next steps.

Mitten participated in a Thursday town hall hosted by Mayor Daniel Biss, answering questions from the community about her history as Urbana city administrator. 

Residents continuously raised concerns about Mitten after the city announced her as the sole candidate in the city’s third search. Members of Evanston Fight for Black Lives engaged in a week of activism urging City Council not to approve Mitten  because of her record on public safety, police accountability, affordable housing and government transparency. 

EFBL member Mollie Hartenstein said the lack of transparency in the process has been concerning.

“The narrative the city’s pushing … is that the more public input there is in the process, the harder it is to find a candidate,” Hartenstein said. “(That) doesn’t make sense because if people don’t want input before they’re even hired, they’re not going to want it once they’re hired which means they’re not going to be an effective conduit for getting constituent complaints addressed.”

The city has conducted three separate failed searches in more than a year and spent $95,000 on search firms. In the first two searches, the city announced two candidates who answered questions in a town hall forum. Some residents expressed concern that the process has become less transparent as only one candidate was announced in this third search. 

The city manager oversees the city budget, helps the city pursue its goals and fills job vacancies. Biss described the city manager as the “CEO of the City of Evanston” in a town hall meeting earlier last month.  

“It seems like this process is getting a little bit long and arduous and out of hand and nobody wants that to be the case,” Hartenstein said. “Part of (the problem) is a lack of transparency, but more so it’s a lack of being heard and civilian input.”

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