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Mayor, Lawsuit Delay Cauthen Contract Renewal

By Steve Bell

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-660722.mp3

Kansas City, MO –

Mayor Mark Funkhouser is now saying that he is willing to yield to the wishes of the majority of the city council and extend City Manager Wayne Cauthen's contract. But Funkhouser wouldn't sign the renewal ordinance initated and passed by the council over his objections.

The mayor's refusal to sign was based on his insistence that the city attorney is correct that only under the revised city charter the mayor can initiate such an ordinance. But he said he wants to honor the will of the majority of the council. Funkhouser says he is willing to work out and propose an ordinance regarding the city manager's contract.

Probed by reporters as to whether he meant Cauthen, Funkhouser said:"That's certainly on the table. I can do that. Yes."

Funkhouser said the anger and backlash that caused the council to pass the ordinance after he sought a Cauthen resignation shows a need for a change in mayoral tactics.

"I should have talked more to the council," he said, "not before I talked to Wayne, because I told him I'd talk to him first that's the right thing to do,but I think I should have talked more and I need to work with them more and I need to build bridges."

Mayor pro-tem Bill Skaggs had sued the city over the legality of the council extending the contract. Skaggs and the city agreed yesterday to a 60-day moratorium before the court steps in. Funkhouser called that agreement "de-escalation," and said that is what he is looking for: "de-escalation... and a solution that renders the lawsuit moot."

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