Without notice, Mayor Mark Funkhouser on Thursday achieved his long-sought objective: the removal from office of City Manager Wayne Cauthen.
“I believe we need new leadership for the City,”Funkhouser wrote in a letter to his City Council colleagues. “As of today, I am exercising the authority given to me as the Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri to suspend the City Manager, effective immediately. In the interim, the city manager has been asked to vacate the premises immediately.”
Earlier in the day, Funkhouser walked into Cauthen’s office and demanded the city manager’s resignation. When Cauthen declined, Funkhouser informed Cauthen he was suspended, and had Cauthen escorted from the building.
“I don’t want to comment,” Cauthen said. “It’s similar to what’s been going on before.”
When the matter came to a vote at Friday’s council meeting, members who voted to ratify Cauthen’s removal were Jan Marcason, Deb Hermann, Bill Skaggs, Russ Johnson, Cindy Circo and Beth Gottstein. Those opposing were Terry Riley, Melba Curls, Sharon Sanders Brooks, Ed Ford, Cathy Jolly and John Sharp. The measure needed six votes to ratify, so it passed.
Cauthen, whose contract has about two years remaining, was not fired for cause, so the city will have to buy out the rest of the contract. Cauthen is also entitled to a hearing.
A council majority appointed Budget Director Troy Schulte as acting city manager for a minimum of six months.