City Council unanimously appoints Luke Stowe as new city manager

A person in a suit in front of a green background.

Source: City of Evanston

Luke Stowe. Formerly the interim city manager, City Council unanimously appointed him to the permanent position.

Isabel Funk, Summer Editor

Evanston City Council unanimously voted to appoint Luke Stowe as the city’s new city manager, Mayor Daniel Biss announced Tuesday.

Stowe previously served as the interim city manager since July 12, as the city’s chief information officer and as the interim deputy city manager. He has worked in Evanston for 10 years as well as in Lake County and Champaign County. City Council announced its intent to appoint Stowe Friday.

While Biss said “Luke is exactly the right person for the moment,” he also acknowledged the three failed nationwide searches the city conducted in the past year, costing tens of thousands of dollars. Most recently, City Council decided earlier this month that the latest finalist, Carol Mitten, was not a good fit for the job following concern from residents about her record on transparency and police accountability.

“One lesson of the lengthy search process is that it’s just a difficult time to hire for a role like this,” Biss said in a Tuesday news release. “At every stage, candidates have withdrawn their names.”

He attributed this difficulty to a number of factors, including the “tight labor market” and Evanston’s unique community, which he said meant many skilled candidates wouldn’t be good fits. Biss also said some candidates viewed Evanston politics as a “contentious” environment, dissuading them from the role.

But Biss said this environment is exactly why Stowe is the right person for the job.

“His superpower is building bridges and making sure that everyone’s voice is heard,” Biss said in the release. “I’ve repeatedly seen Luke find ways to turn down the temperature in difficult situations and find a productive solution that respects all stakeholders.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @isabeldfunk

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