Kansas City Council approves new city manager Brian Platt, but not without some debate first

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Thursday afternoon the city council voted to hire a government official from Jersey City, New Jersey, to be the new city manger of Kansas City.

Brian Platt won the job after a 9-4 vote, but his hiring didn’t come without some controversy.

The city council has been looking for the next city manager since former City Manager Troy Schulte retired to take a job with Jackson County.

Kansas City operates under a Strong-Manager form of government. The city manager runs the day-to-day operations of the city, including all essential services that directly affect citizens. The city council hires the city manager and can also fire the city manager.

That’s in contrast to the Strong-Mayor form of government where the elected mayor oversees day-to-day business and can not be fired by council. 

“I’m not concerned about Mr. Platt,” Council Member Heather Hall said. “What I’m concerned about is the lack of accountability and transparency in the process.”

Hall said Platt is one of two of the strongest contenders for the job of city manager. 

After an extensive search, the city council voted Thursday on who to offer the job, which is why Hall and others were surprised to see an article in the Jersey City Times announcing Platt’s new job as city manager in Kansas City several days prior the city council’s vote.

“People need to know that this city manager coming in works for 13 people not for one,” Hall said. 

Prior to the council’s vote, Mayor Quinton Lucas’s spokesperson issued a statement that read, in part:

“The mayor has provided a recommendation to the city council regarding who he believes should serve as Kansas City Manager. The council must then codify this recommendation by a majority vote. No formal job offer is extended and presumably no candidate is separated from their place of employment until a contract has been signed.”

Hall believes what could have been a very easy hire is now raising questions about whether or not Platt was offered the job before the council voted on the resolution to hire him.

“I think now there’s a lot of irritation and uncomfortability,” Hall said. “If this is the way we are going to start a relationship with a new city manager and the mayor? Is that what we want to live with for the next three years?”

You can see an exclusive interview with the new city manager Brian Platt on FOX4 News at 6:30 a.m. Friday.

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