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Contract Prompts Council Filibuster Try, Repeal of Chastain Plan Advances

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City Council photo.
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Councilman Terry Riley tried the unusual tactic of a filibuster over a proposal to terminate the city manager's contract.

By Steve Bell

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-640918.mp3

Kansas City, MO – At Thursday's legislative session, the City Council's three minority members complained about poor communication on the status of negotiations with City Manager Wayne Cauthen. Councilman Terry Riley attempted a filibuster to stop a vote on a plan to extend the automatic renewal deadline, but still declare intent to cancel the present contract at the end of November. After a half-hour, Mayor Funkhouser declared Riley out of order and Riley couldn't get a second to override the pronouncement.

The contract measure passed with dissenting votes from all three African-American council members. Councilman Russ Johnson blamed the fuss on the preceding council. He said the now-retired council "screwed up royally" when they allowed Cauthen's attorneys to negotiate a contract with a fourth-year "rollover" automatic renewal clause. That clause, he said, is extremely unusual and is the cause of much strife on the current council.

The council then asked the mayor for a weekly closed-door update from attorneys on the progress of negotiations. Funkhouser said he supposed such reporting was possible, even if the report were "nothing happened."

The council also acknowledged sufficient petitions to let the voters decide on repealing Clay Chastain's light rail plan and instructing the council to create a new one - and passed a resolution to consider public transit, pedestrians and bicycles in the new Paseo Bridge design.

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