Loyola University Chicago

The Graduate School

Alumni Spotlight

Evan Phillips

‌Evan always knew that he wanted a career in government. He never thought, however, that it would be in budgeting. After graduating from Loyola with a Master’s in Public Policy in 2013, Evan applied to a number of jobs within the public sector, including a position in the Office of Budget and Management that he never expected to get.

 “I expected,” he says, “that the City of Chicago would want someone with experience grounded in finance or accounting rather than policy.”

It turns out he was better prepared than he expected. Evan was hired for the position and very quickly proved he was qualified. He is now a Senior Budget Analyst responsible for overseeing the budgets of the Police Department, the Department of Streets and Sanitation, the Police Board, and the Department of Innovation and Technology. He relishes the increased responsibility but recognizes that with it comes more demands, especially in the current political, financial, and social climate.

“The biggest challenge I face as a Budget Analyst is time,” Evan says. “There are limitless possibilities for analysis, but I am limited in my time that I can dedicate.”

This is particularly the case during the annual budget season, which lasts from June through November.

“During this period,” he says, “all capacity is utilized on evaluating, organizing, reviewing, and finalizing the annual budget recommendation for the subsequent year.”

Evan has gained an insider’s perspective on much of what you hear on the local news. He wants to make sure that people know things are not as bad as they seem. Evan plays an important role in preparing and implementing the budget that is ultimately proposed by the mayor to City Council. He evaluates annual budget requests for their impact on City services and to ensure they are within the City’s fiscal constraints. As the budget is implemented throughout the year, Evan monitors and analyzes personnel and non-personnel expenditures for his departments.

“A common myth about City of Chicago budget process is the perception that the City has not driven efficiencies and streamlined government services,” Evan says. “While the City still has work to do in this respect, the City has cut the structural deficit facing the city by two-thirds in the last four years.”

Evan credits much of his current success to the MPP Program. He specifically credits his Public Budgeting and Statistics courses for his skills in analyzing complex data expertly and succinctly.

“Regardless of the subject,” Evan says, “I am able to construct a memo or statistical analysis that provides clear and concise information to the City’s executive leadership.”

Considering the unfortunate reality affecting our city and state right now, understanding the public budgeting process is more difficult but more important than ever. Evan has accepted that challenge and has a bright future as a public servant.