Here we go again folks. Tony's Kansas City reported yesterday that in an attempt to garner political capital, that he currently doesn't have, just minutes before the start of the City Council session, The Mayor placed on the agenda a vote to suspend City Manager Wayne Cauthen.
The Kansas City Star is reporting that Council members voting to support Funkhouser in suspending Cauthen were Jan Marcason, Deb Hermann, Bill Skaggs, Russ Johnson, Cindy Circo, and Beth Gottstein. Those opposing were Terry Riley, Melba Curls, Sharon Sanders Brooks, Ed Ford, Cathy Jolly and John Sharp. The measure needed six council votes to ratify, so it passed.
It's important to note that this is a suspension, not a termination, as the Council needs nine council votes to terminate Cauthen's contract--votes that Funkhouser currently does not have.
In what could be perhaps the Mayor's most unprofessional decision yet, and yet another example of this mayor and his team not having a clue at what they are doing, at 2:30pm Wayne Cauthen was escorted out by the head of city security. While being taken out of the building The Star reported Cauthen as saying
“I don’t want to comment,” “It’s similar to what’s been going on before.”
According to The Star, Funkhouser wrote a letter to The Council and was quoted as saying “As you know, I believe we need new leadership for the City,” Funkhouser wrote in the letter to his council colleagues. “As of today, I am exercising the authority given to me as the Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, to suspend the City Manager, effective immediately. In the interim, the city manager has been asked to vacate the premises immediately.”
The move to no surprise stirred a heated debate as several council members who opposed the suspension said they learned about the move just minutes before the business session started--further proving this move to be purely political. Councilman Ford and Councilman Sharp were quoted as calling the move “government by ambush,” and a “palace coup.” They said the mayor should have provided some public notice for an action of this magnitude, and that the treatment of the manager was shabby at best.
During the debate, to no surprise Mayor Funkhouser and other supporters of the suspension did not provide any further explanation for their vote.
Likewise, Cauthen’s attorney, Charles Harris, said that at 1:05 p.m. the mayor came into Cauthen’s office and demanded his resignation without an explanation. Harris said Funkhouser then told Cauthen that if he wouldn’t resign, he had the votes for suspension. Cauthen was informed his suspension was with pay, but was given no clue as to its duration.
Harris said Cauthen has submitted a written demand for the reasons for the suspension, as he is entitled to do.
It's clear in our opinion that the mayor is just passing the buck as the lack of solid, informed leadership starts at his office. Both he and his staff are and always have been absolutely clueless as to what is best for this city. Additionally, it's clue that this mayor is more interested finding a political future than resolving any problem occurring in this city.
KC Blue Blog would like to know in detail Mayor Funkhouser's reasons for making such a spontaneous move without allotting time for reasonable notice or discussion before The Council. He owes it to City Manager Wayne Cauthen, The City Council, and most importantly the people of Kansas City.
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