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Council Still Divided on Mayoral Power, Districts

The Kansas City city council spent two hours discussing the two most controversial suggestions for changes in the city charter Thursday. At the end of it, they still remain divided on both issues.

The most time was devoted to discussing the charter commission's recommendation that the city do away with at large council seats and have twelve council members, each representing a specific district.

It would reduce the cost of running for office and make it easier for minority candidates to get elected, but some worry it would take the focus off of “the big picture” and increase divisiveness.

Mayor Sly James said he opposes the change, but wants to send it to the voters because not to do so would simply reinforce the belief held by some people that the council hasn't addressed the issue of racial balance.

Many council members were also wary of another proposal: giving the mayor the power to fire the city manager. The two strongly in favor of that change were the Mayor and City Manager Troy Schulte. 

The council has till January 23 to decide what to put on the April ballot.

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