Bloomington City Council approve name change for gender-neutral title

Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason said the title change from alderman to council members allowed a more gender-neutral title. (Photo courtesy: WJBC)

By Blake Haas

BLOOMINGTON – Elected representatives of Bloomington’s nine wards now have a new title after the council passed a proposed ordinance Monday night.

Bllomington’s City Council members will now be referred to as “council members” instead of aldermen to identify as a more gender neutral term.

Speaking with WJBC’s Scott Miller, Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason said newly elected members brought fourth the idea.

“It actually came pretty quickly, we had three of the four newly represented (speak up), and it was innocent,” said Gleason. “As we were on boarding and saying ‘how do you want your name to appear on business cards on your name tag’ they made this request so I started checking into it.”

Gleason added a change in title name is not uncommon in a university setting.

“This is not so common at the local level yet,” added Gleason. “While this does not change state statue, we do have the ability at the local level to recognize our elected officials in the way that we did.”

The Illinois Municipal Code and City Charter still refer to them as “aldermen,” so they’ll have to use that title on nominating petitions when they’re running for office.

Blake Haas can be reached at Blake.Haas@cumulus.com.

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