KC Charter Commission Recommends Stronger Mayor

Oct 22, 2013

The Kansas City Charter Review Commission has agreed on the basics of the proposal it will send the city council.

Most commission members agreed with Mayor Sly James that the mayor should have more power, including the authority to fire the city manager.

Commission member Jim Rice is a long-time area health executive and political observer. He says he doubts the issue of mayoral power will go to the voters.

“I find it difficult to see how that will get through the council and onto a ballot, because every one of the eight council people that were interviewed by the Citizens' Association strongly opposed that particular provision,” says Rice.

The commission was split on increasing the number of council districts and eliminating at-large seats, but that change is included in the proposal being finalized because the commission believes it is worthy of more public discussion.

Less controversial was a recommendation to move city elections from February and March to April and June when weather is more conducive to a better voter turnout.

The commission made no recommendation on the mayor's request that term limits be extended to three terms.

The commission has been meeting since this summer. It plans to finish work in two weeks and send the recommendations to the city council.