Jackson County Legislature mulls hiring outgoing KC city manager for new role

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jackson County is a step closer to hiring a top outgoing leader from City Hall.

Troy Schulte has worked for the city of Kansas City for more than two decades. He recently announced his planned retirement as city manager.

As Jackson County legislators prepare to debate next year's budget, they could add a new role of county administrator. The man they're looking to fill the post is a familiar face: Kansas City's outgoing city manager, Troy Schulte.

"Here, it's kind of been dysfunctional. I can say it. And I think you can be a unifying force," Legislator Dan Tarwater said.

Schulte's taken on some huge projects at City Hall, and he said he's well equipped for the balancing act of navigating the rocky waters between Jackson County Executive Frank White and the legislature.

"I've spent the last 21 years in an organization you not only had to have mayor on board, had to have staff on board and city council on board or you didn't get anything done," Schulte said.

There's a big to-do list for Schulte already, which includes potentially moving forward on a new jail, fixing problems with the courthouse building, and determining a better path for future property assessments.

But there's some palpable anxiety about it all.

"Troy, if you're weaponized against my constituents like some of the processes this year were done, we're going to have a hell of a hard time," legislator Crystal Williams said.

Schulte knows he'll have to earn trust.

Legislators ultimately agreed they'd like to see the organizational flow firmly outlined and a solid job description before signing a contract.

"Having vague things like that or non-existent things in a contract really sets it up for bad potential situation for anybody and everybody involved in this," legislator Jeanie Lauer said.

Schulte's proposed salary, at $220,000, has also been a hot topic. But because three existing county jobs, two already vacant, would go away, there could actually be a small cost savings if he's hired.

"I think I've got track record that speaks for what we can accomplish collectively and can bring that talent and expertise to Jackson County. It's ultimately up to legislature to say it's worth it or not," Schulte said.

The legislature's hoping to iron out the job description and other contract details within a week, and vote on a deal with Schulte at its next meeting.

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