Government
9:59 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Charter Commission Takes As Long As Needed

The commission assigned the job of deciding whether the City Charter for Kansas City, Mo. needs change heard an admonition Wednesday from a longtime civic activist.

It’s the first review of the City’s operating orders since 2006. The 13 member panel appointed by the Mayor has a tentative plan to do its job on changes in form of government by end of July.  

Options range from strong to weak mayor forms and the range of number of council seats is huge.  

Dan Cofran chairs the historically reform minded, non-partisan political group the Citizens Association, he wasn’t mincing words.

“Heed the admonition from the Mayor at your first meeting to do it right and do it well and take the time to do it right and do it well,” said Cofran.

Mayor Sly James gave  marching orders to his Kansas City Charter Review Commission at its first meeting.
Mayor Sly James gave marching orders to his Kansas City Charter Review Commission at its first meeting.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Because, as former City Councilman Cofran noted, the current government form has been around for some 90 years and any changes might be in place for another 90.

Commission member Jim Rice agreed as did co-chair Gayle Holliday.  

Changes in the number of and drawing of council districts will also have a large effect on minority representation in local government. 

Sentiment now appears to allow the Charter Commission to continue its work without an end date.