Thursday, November 19, 2009

Big Doings Down at City Hall

There's a lot stirring at City Hall these days. Probably the most spectacular event was today when the mayor, with sufficient backing from the City Council suspended City Manager Wayne Cauthen. Apparently it all started coming down early this afternoon, when Cauthen was asked to resign. He did not, and so Mayor Mark Funkhouser "suspended" him and had him escorted off City Hall property. Funky had six votes to do this on the City Council which apparently is enough. From Tony of TKC on Darla Jaye's show this p.m. that this was a move from the Northland council members as far as the support for Funky. Probably the council member most left holding the bag in support of Cauthen was South KC's own John Sharp. The Black council members Riley, Curls and Sanders-Brooks apparently squawked a little about race, but I don't think this is going to get any traction. This move is a combo of dissatisfaction with Cauthen's performance and the simple fact that Funky does not like Wayne Cauthen and has tried to remove Cauthen twice before and been stiffed by the City Council. City Council is the one who signed Cauthen to the multiyear contract deal that he has been working under. If the suspension turns into a firing/resignation, the buyout of Cauthen's contract may be in the $200,000 to maybe even $500,00 range. That's a lot of potholes, police officers and salaries for important city workers.

Interesting also that this event happens one day before an important ethics committee meeting concerning the mayor. The scuttlebutt here is that Funky had an employee do campaigning type work on a city salary--a big no-no per both city and state law.

Caller Susan to Darla's show described KCMO's government as unstable and untrusted by state and federal concerns. That's not a comfy place to be if this is so.

I'll link you to Tony's Kansas City. He has multiple newsy links on his sight as well as his own unique insight and 78 COMMENTS as of 10:35 PM. (His post has probably been up for about 8 hours)

The most recent from the Kansas City Star and KMBC.

And an editorial comment from Yours Truly. This city has not been competently run in many ways these past couple of years. Mayor Funkhouser has been a disappointment; I was hoping for a straight forward bean counter kind of guy and he has been all show and no go. However, it must be noted that in KC's City Manager form of government, the most power sits in the CM's office with the City Council second banana. The failure of the City Council and the Mayor to evaluate Wayne Cauthen and hold him accountable is a great failure. If a corrupt and incompetent person is in the CM's office he can do great damage. He has the most power, especially concerning the budget and day-to-day affairs, but he serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and the City Council. The Mayor and City Council got in two fights over Cauthen. Was he worth it? Considering his performance, I would say no.

I do wish we didn't have to pay him all that money to go away.

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