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Council Rebuffs Funkhouser, Extends Cauthen Contract

City Manager Wayne Cauthen
City Manager Wayne Cauthen

By Steve Bell


Kansas City, MO –
Civic leaders representing minority organizations, churches, labor unions, and business groups protested Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser's attempt to terminate City Manager Wayne Cauthen on Thursday. And the city council followed suit by extending Cauthen's contract over the mayor's objections.

What began as a protest by civil rights organizations over the mayor's attempt to force City Manager Wayne Cauthen's resignation expanded to include leaders of labor unions and the Downtown Council.

African-American religious leader Fuzzy Thompson said their complaints were various. Addressing the mayor, he said: "The one good thing you have done is that you have succeeded in galvanizing all of us!"

Though the main focus was on what the protesters saw as a unilateral attempt to replace the city manager, various individuals protested again the appointment of Minuteman member Frances Semler to the parks board, and perceived racial insensitivity on the part of the mayor's wife.

At the following legislative session the full council voted 8 to four to endorse Cauthen. And a group attempted to extend Cauthen's contract spontaneously from the floor.

Councilman John Sharp said, "It's more than an action reaffirming the council's faith in the city manager. It is an action protecting and preserving the professional council-manager form of government."

That measure also passed 8 to 4 and Cauthen's contract will be renewed.

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