Jefferson City, MO – The board that oversees Missouri's State Employees Retirement System, or MOSERS, is crafting a proposal that would bar employees from receiving bonuses during years when the pension fund loses money.
Earlier this year, MOSERS staff members received around $400,000 in performance incentives, even though investments made by the system lost money in 2008. Democratic State Treasurer Clint Zweifel sits on the board and voted in favor of ending that practice.
Kansas City, MO – In the early afternoon business session on Thursday, the city council endorsed a city study released last week that strongly implies that the Power and Light District has discriminated against blacks and Latinos.
Mayor Mark Funkhouser started the discussion with a strong statement: "In my estimation, civil rights of individuals were violated, and that is not in this city going to be tolerated. We are going to enforce the public accommodations law."
Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser has suspended the city manager.
In a letter to City Council members Thursday, Funkhouser said he was suspending Wayne Cauthen immediately. He didn't give a reason except to say he was exercising his authority as mayor and had asked Cauthen to leave City Hall immediately.
Relations between Funkhouser and Cauthen have been strained for years. In 2007, the mayor said he wouldn't support a city ordinance to extend Cauthen's contract.
Kansas City, MO – Mayor Funkhouser dismissed the city manager Thursday afternoon, and asked him to leave the City Hall immediately. Six Kansas City council members supporting Wayne Cauthen said they were shocked today when they were notified that they'd be voting on his termination at today's council session. Councilman Ed Ford characterized it as a lack of respect.
MR FORD : "Government by ambush, is not the appropriate way for us to make what is probably the most important decision we make, which is the hiring and firing of a city manager."
Kansas City, MO – A city council committee got the financial reports it asked for Wednesday, and it didn't brighten Kansas City's budget future.
The latest, most accurate figures show the city has pared expenses by an actual five percent or so, but the general fund balance trails last year's by about six million dollars and as revenues continue to lag, the prediction is now that at current service levels spending in next year's budget will have to be cut by another sixty to sixty-five million dollars.
Kansas City, MO – Three years of planning against rough economic times have paid off for the Jackson County government. That is the assessment county executive Mike Sanders gave in his "state of the county" address yesterday. He says that without years of belt tightening, county government would have shut down.
Kansas City, Mo. – Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders says his administration will hold the line in 2010 and lower property taxes. He made the remarks in his November 12th State of the County Address.
Topeka, KS – The state court system is facing a $15 million shortfall in Kansas, and courts are scheduled to be closed for several weeks to save cash. The courts will be closed for a total of six weeks between February and June of next year, if lawmakers don't take action to fund the shortfall.
Ron Keefover is information officer for the Kansas Judiciary. He says the courts won't be scheduling cases for those weeks, but judges will likely still be available for some duties like signing search warrants.
Kansas City, Mo. – Only the U.S. Senate stands in the way of making the World War One Memorial in Kansas City the official, national memorial. Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver chose Veterans' Day to note House passage of the measure by a vote of 148 to 1.
Topeka, KS – Last week a group of Kansas budget officials lowered the state revenue estimate for this fiscal year, which will likely mean additional cuts to state government. K through 12 education makes up around half the state budget. This has some school officials concerned education could be facing cuts.
Topeka, KS – William Avery, a one-term Republican governor in the 1960s and former U.S. House member, has died, the governor's office said Thursday. He was 98.
Gov. Mark Parkinson's office said Avery died Wednesday and ordered flags across the state lowered until Nov. 14.
"Governor Avery led our state during a time of tragic loss and national attention. Kansas honors his long life and service to our state. Our thoughts and prayers are with his children and family," Parkinson said in a statement.
Kansas City, MO – A group of economists and policy-makers slashed Kansas tax collection estimates Thursday by $235 million, reflecting signs of continued weakness in the state economy.
The new forecast for the remainder of the state's 2010 fiscal year through next June 30 means Kansas government will have 4.2 percent fewer tax dollars to finance services, including public education, than previously estimated in April. Kansas began its fiscal year July 1.
Kansas City, MO – City Auditor Gary White presented the latest quarterly citizen satisfaction survey to the city council yesterday, and it was no cause for celebration.
Overall, there wasn't much change from the preceding quarter.
Maybe there was another slight gain in satisfaction with the way streets and public facilities are being maintained. Definitely more people were unhappy about bulky item trash pickup and difficulty reaching a representative at the 3-1-1 city services number.
Kansas City, Mo. – Radio communications between fighters and paramedics are a vital connection for public safety. And a faulty system is getting keen attention before a special Kansas City council committee.
Fire Chief Smoky Dyer reports to the panel after a first transitional meeting this week, bringing MAST ambulance into the fire department. Focus is on six issues including staffing of the reorganized ambulance sector.
Kansas City, MO – Early last evening, rush hour drivers along Bruce Watkins Freeway had to head to shoulders of the road to make way for what appeared to be two armored cars. The heavy trucks had police cars leading and following, with flashing lights and sirens.
The fast moving vehicles were heading for Kansas City's far southeast side and beginnings of an Operation 100, so-called because it takes about that many officers to work and support the siege of a crime scene.
Lawrence, KS – Kansas is one of the windiest states, and state government and power company officials are trying to capitalize on that. Officials met in Lawrence to talk about ways to make that happen.
Kansas City, MO – Jackson County voters approved the renewal of the Community-Backed Anti-Drug Tax by a wide margin yesterday. The COMBAT sales tax raises about $20 million a year to fund drug enforcement and treatment programs.
Kansas City, MO – It's been 20 years since Jackson County residents first passed the Community Based Anti-Drug Tax to fund drug enforcement, treatment and prevention. The sales tax was an unusual response to the crack epidemic and high homicide rate of the late 1980s. Since that time, drug use and violent crime have decreased and come back up again, leaving some voters wondering if Combat has made a difference. The quarter-cent sales tax is up for a renewal in a special election on Tuesday.
Kansas City, MO – Kansas' governor Mark Parkinson said Wednesday that he's prepared to make additional spending cuts this year to keep the state's budget balanced, and key legislators predicted he'll be forced to further trim aid to public schools.
Parkinson wouldn't speculate during a news conference about what steps he'll take to close any projected deficit for the fiscal year that began July 1. But he said he won't leave the job of closing a shortfall to legislators when they reconvene in January.
Kansas City, Mo – Kansas City's Finance and Audit Committee got a wake up call yesterday, in the form of the latest revenue and expense figures. For one thing, revenue may be starting to lag behind projections by several million dollars. But there was more.
Kansas City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced an additional $204 million dollars in spending cuts on Wednesday due to declining state revenue. The cuts in the fiscal 2010 state budget include $4.4 million from the Missouri Arts Council and $2.2 million from its cultural partners, including public broadcasting.
Kansas City, MO – This November voters have to weigh in on what's most important: a weak economy where more people are less likely to approve new taxes versus a law enforcement program that requires tax dollars to operate. COMBAT-Community Backed Anti-Drug-Tax is the tax on the ballot looking to fund programs that address drug addiction and drug-related crime in the community.