Kansas City, MO – African-American clergy protested the way City Manager Wayne Cauthen was fired. The group, called Concerned Clergy, held a news conference Wednesday in the foyer of a Swope Parkway church at which three ministers spoke.
One was long-time civil rights leader Wallace Hartzfield, who said of the way Cauthen was fired, "It may have been legal, but it was wrong.
Hartzfielda continued by saying that Cauthen was treated in an inappropriate and dehumanizing way.
Emanuel Cleaver III and former mayor pro-tem Alvin Brooks were present, but did not address the crowd.
Alvin Brooks said after the news conference that he was appalled at the way the Cauthen firing was handled. He said in his 30 years in city government he had seen a number of city managers come and go, often leaving when they were in disfavor with the council. But, said Brooks, he as never seen such a firing handled as rudely as that of Cauthen.
The former mayoral candidate also characterized the Mayor's actions in the dismissal as "mean spirited," adding, "That has no place in city government."
Brooks, who was narrowly defeated by Mark Funkhouser in the mayoral race, blamed the mayor, saying he was the one that orchestrated the firing.
The clergy group emphasized that it was taking a moral stand, not trying to get Cauthen reinstated or making demands.
But its leaders did say that they would like an explanation of why Cauthen was fired and apologies to Cauthen and to the three African-American council members who were not informed in advance of the vote to fire him.