Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri will not get a new city department to manage construction projects. The city council voted that down 7 to 6 yesterday. But the city Human Relations Department was re-empowered in a last-minute move.
The Human Relations Department has always been a department according to the city charter. But former city manager Wayne Cauthen gave it division status within his office. That means HRD didn't have its own separate budget, and some council members also said it "degraded the status" of HRD.
An ordinance to reinstate it to full department status was introduced on the floor for immediate vote. Council member Cindy Circo explained her understanding of it: "What we are doing is saying we do not want another city manager coming before us and making the changes that dramatically impact HRD without bringing it to us first."
The ordinance passed.
As for the plan to create a centralized construction department, the majority of the council considered it adding more bureaucracy, and not necessarily speeding up implementation of construction projects or improving communication about them.