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Luke Stowe Named Next City Manager in Evanston, Ill.

The former chief information officer for Evanston, Ill., was approved by the Chicago suburb’s City Council Tuesday night. In his new role as city manager, he will oversee policy implementation in the city.

Evanston, Ill.
Aerial view of Evanston, Ill.
Shutterstock/Felix Mizioznikov
After 25 years working in local government, Luke Stowe will become the next city manager for Evanston, Ill.

Stowe became the city’s CIO in 2016 and has held related management and technology positions in other Illinois communities, notably in Lake County and Champaign County, as well as in the private sector.

Stowe was recognized by Government Technology in 2018 as one of the industry’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers. At the time, he was recognized for improving police camera systems, updating city websites, overhauling the city’s open data portal and strengthening the partnerships between the city of Evanston and Northwestern University on projects ranging from fiber to data science.

In the years since, Stowe has been busy taking on new roles within the city. In February, he was named an interim deputy city manager, overseeing health and human services, parks and recreation, finance and budget, the fire department and IT and administrative adjudication. Since July 12 he has served as Evanston’s city manager in an interim capacity.

“I think coming up through IT and technology has been helpful,” Stowe told Government Technology. “Technology touches everything.”

Stowe said that his list of priorities as city manager include coordinating staff to handle the upcoming city budget, hiring a new police chief as well as building on the work that Evanston has done to advance racial equity. Since 2019, Evanston has been building a program of reparations for Black city residents, according to its website.

“I’m anxious to get to work,” said Stowe.

Stowe’s appointment was met with positive comments and a unanimous vote of approval from Evanston’s elected officials. This support comes despite a turbulent search process in which the city council struggled to reach a consensus on who to pick for the role.

“Luke earned this appointment through his distinguished service to the city, demonstrating during a uniquely contentious era an extraordinary ability to build bridges and work constructively with just about everyone,” said Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss in a press release. “It is time for our organization to get moving again, and to do so in a way that includes and respects all stakeholders; Luke is exactly the right person to make that happen. Let’s get to work.”

Prior to Stowe’s appointment, the city conducted a nationwide search for a new city manager, but struggled to find the right candidate as several finalists withdrew themselves from consideration, according to the city’s press release.
Andrew Adams is a data reporter for Government Technology. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield.