KCUR News
3:05 pm
Wed January 26, 2011

Supreme Court Orders Payment: City Funds Lacking

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The chief attorney at City Hall in Kansas City can't find much to contest in a Missouri Supreme Court ruling that will cost the city $2.1 million. And they are dollars the city can ill afford.

With one dissenting vote, Justices upheld a mid-level court ruling against the city, and in favor of Melissa Howard. She had claimed discrimination when the city council, five years ago, threw out a panel on which she was named to replace a white female judge leaving municipal court.

All nominees were white and women.

The Council wanted diversity.

City Attorney Galen Beaufort will reexamine the ruling but, on first reading, finds nothing the city can do to challenge it. Beaufort says the city has funds for losses such as this. But will money set aside cover this loss?

Beaufort says, "they are not currently sufficient."

Are the funds, described by Beaufort as numbering three or four, even close to the two million-plus dollars?

He says they are--"probably....half way there."

So, in a time of multi million dollar budget deficits and cost cuttings, the current City Council will have to find as much as a million dollars to pay the loss incurred by a decision by the Council in 2006.