Today's Evanston RoundTable's editorial hits the mark: firing Kevin L. Brown from his position as manager of the Youth and Young Adult Division of the City's Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department is a travesty.
The decision cannot stand.
Brown has shared the October 31 memo from Lawrence Hemingway, director of Parks, Recreation, and Community Services with Dear Evanston.
As stated here yesterday and in the Roundtable today, the charges--and Brown's firing--relate to the payment (with a City credit card) of nine parking tickets and one towing fee over three years.
One of the tickets was issued on a City-owned vehicle for failure to have a current registration.
Seven of the tickets were for parking violations of a City owned-vehicle or vehicles owned by members of the outreach team--which sport a City permit from their rear-view mirrors for identification purposes--at the City’s parking lot at the Civic Center.
As reported in the Roundtable, the ninth ticket was issued on a City-owned vehicle for parking in a no-parking street cleaning zone in the 1100 block of Leonard Place on September 17, 2018, and there was also a $200 towing fee for that vehicle.
Brown explained that the vehicle had been parked in the Civic Center lot on Friday, September 14, but at the direction of the Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Karen Hawk it was moved because of an event. Brown said the City employee who moved the vehicle parked it in a street-cleaning zone, and it was ticketed and towed that Monday.
Brown told Dear Evanston and the Roundtable that he was directed by Hemingway and Hawk to use the City credit card to get the towed vehicle back, and that using the City credit card to pay parking tickets had been standard practice in the department from the time Brown was hired in 2012.
Mayor Hagerty has responded to the concerns of Evanston residents about Kevin's termination saying, "Mr. Brown has selectively decided to make his case to the public without putting forth all relevant information."
But the information is all contained in the City's termination letter.
Brown has been an outspoken advocate for his division and his staff, and against racism and injustice, and he believes the stated complaints against him are a pretext to justify his termination.
"I have been under attack by certain senior staff in the City since almost the day since I arrived in February 2012, and part of it stems from the fact that I’m an outspoken person when it come to equity, race, racism, and justice," Brown told Dear Evanston on Friday. "That bothers certain people. Because of that, I think there’s been retaliation."
Brown told Dear Evanston he thinks people see that what's going on is not about parking tickets.
"They want to terminate me," he told me when we talked on Friday. "It’s not about parking at all."
If you support Kevin Brown, his work, and the work of his team of outreach workers, please attend tomorrow's City Council meeting at 8 p.m. You can sign up to speak at that time, or simply be there in solidarity with Kevin Brown.