By Steve Bell
KANSAS CITY, MO – A Jackson County Judge yesterday affirmed the city council's right to override Mayor Mark Funkhouser and extend the contract of City Manager Wayne Cauthen.
Mayor Mark Funkhouser has since backed down on his desire to replace the city manager, but he expressed disappointment in Judge Brian Wimes' decision in a suit filed by Councilman Bill Skaggs. Wimes confirmed that under the new city charter only the mayor can initiate a contract for a new city manager, but he said forcing the end of an old contract amounted to terminating a city manager, which requires a council vote.
Funkhouser says if allowed to stand the decision undermines a charter revision intended to help build better functioning mayor-city manager combinations. But, he says, working with Cauthen to produce a balanced city budget is more important at the moment. Skaggs was out of the country and unavailable to comment.