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Structure of Government
Evanston is a general purpose municipal government located in Cook County, Illinois. It is a home rule municipality with powers defined by the Illinois Constitution (Illinois Const. art. VII, sec. 6) and operates under a council-manager form of government. Evanston Township was abolished in 2014, as the result of a referendum, and the City of Evanston assumed all duties and obligations of the Township.
People of Evanston
The people of Evanston elect the aldermen, the mayor, and the city clerk. They may also alter their form of government
and change the manner of selection
and terms of office of elected and appointed officials through the referendum (direct initiative) process authorized by state statute
(10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/28).
The city council consists of the mayor and the 9 aldermen representing each of the city's wards
. The council adopts legislation, sets policy, gives advice and consent to mayoral appointments, hires and fires the city manager, and approves the city budget. Regular meetings of the council are held 3 times per month and are open to the public.
The mayor represents the city at official functions and presides at city council meetings, with the authority to vote in case of a tie and under other limited circumstances. The mayor has veto power over ordinances and resolutions, subject to a two-thirds override vote. They are an ex officio member of all council committees and, with the approval of the council, appoint members to city boards, commissions, and committees.
The only full-time elected official in Evanston, the city clerk is the secretary to the city council, official custodian of the city code and public records, and the local election official for municipal elections. Voters may register in person at the clerk's office. Candidates for municipal office file their petitions with the city clerk. Signature requirements for each office are available on the clerk's web site.
Boards, Commissions, and Committees
There are currently 28 active boards, commissions, and committees and each reports to a standing committee of the city council. They are comprised of citizen volunteers
, appointed by the Mayor, and perform administrative, advisory, or quasi-judicial functions.
The city manager is hired by the city council and is the chief executive officer of the city. They oversee the city's administrative departments and have the power to enforce all laws and ordinances. The city manager prepares the budget for consideration by city council.