A committee that has formed to demand the reinstatement of Kevin L. Brown to the position of Community Services Manager of Evanston's Youth and Young Adult Division is calling on Evanston residents to attend tonight's City Council meeting at 6 p.m. at the Lorraine Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge.
This is the week that interim City Manager Erika Storlie will announce her decision on his appeal.
The Committee, which includes former Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, will join a broad diversity of Evanston residents at the Evanston City Council meeting tonight to demand that the City Council rehire Kevin Brown to the Community Services Manager position and supervisor of the city's Youth and Young Adult Division.
Brown was fired from his position on November 8, 2019. The stated reason was that he used his City of Evanston credit card to pay for nine City of Evanston parking tickets for his staff’s City of Evanston vehicles used during business hours and parked in the City of Evanston Civic Center parking lot.
However, his superiors, all the way up to the City Council, which reviews and approves itemized City payments, authorized each and every one of those charges, which total under $600.
"The community is baffled by this decision for someone with such an unblemished record of public achievement," says Gail Schechter, who organized the committee, and worked with Kevin on an Addie Wyatt Center for Nonviolence Training program to teach Kingian Nonviolence to Evanston youth, in a news release earlier today.
"The Evanston City Council has consistently recognized of the importance of the Youth and Young Adult Division, as evident through its budget process and consistent affirmation of its results under Kevin's leadership," she says.
Former Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl testified to the City Council on November 18 in strong support of Mr. Brown, saying that Mr. Brown should be celebrated not dismissed.
“The young people who wanted jobs have much better options now thanks to Kevin," she said.
"I know that Kevin did not do all of this on his own. Many of you were on the Council when I was--and helped him--and he stands on the shoulder of the police force, the not-for-profits in town, many, many people. But Kevin has done a remarkable job and one of the best things I did as mayor, I believe, was to encourage Kevin and to support Kevin and I am here to ask you to do the same."
The program managed by Brown has helped thousands of Evanston youth and young adults secure job training and permanent employment.
Between 2012 and 2018, the percentage of youth ages 16 to 24 who have been arrested declined by more than 200 percent in Evanston. The percentage of youth who participate in the Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program increased almost four-fold to 600 jobs in 2018.
The committee believes there has been a miscarriage of justice in the Brown termination and that it is both unfounded and unwarranted.
"We demand his reinstatement," says Schechter.
According to the release, the committee says its goals are:
-- to direct the Evanston City Council to reinstate Kevin Brown;
-- highlight the broader equity issues surrounding Mr. Browns termination, especially in light of Evanston becoming the first city in America to create a reparations ordinance and Mr. Brown is an African American; and
-- broaden our local government reform campaign to end "business as usual" in local city government.
Use this link to sign up to speak during Public Comment.
Under "Agenda Item" indicate "Reinstate Kevin Brown" -- although it is not on the agenda.
For more information:
Dear Evanston -- Focus on Parks (and Youth) ... Not Parking!
Patch -- City Urged To Reconsider Firing Of Community Services Manager
Evanston Roundtable -- Kevin Brown’s Appeal Maintains His Actions on Parking Tickets Had Backing of Superiors
Evanston Roundtable -- City's Community Services Manager Fired in Credit Card Case