Kansas City Mayor Lucas to take over committee chair after complaints of racism

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas is taking the lead of the Kansas City Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, and Operations Committee after several councilmembers complained about chairperson Teresa Loar.

The shift of power comes after several councilmembers accused Loar of racism. 3rd District Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, 4th District Councilman Eric Bunch, and 1st District Councilman Kevin O’Neil all boycotted the last TIO meeting and asked Lucas to remove Loar from the chair position.

“I with this letter announce that I appoint myself to serve on an interim basis as committeechair, effective immediately, and first chairing the committee meeting on Wednesday, September23, 2020,” Lucas said in a statement. “… I plan to see how our work together over the weeks ahead can restore positive orat least functioning working relationships among committee colleague.”

The letter alludes to dysfunction that has interrupted the regular proceedings of the committee. Lucas stated that he will “introduce committee procedures” to help the committee “… return to its original constitution in due course assuming our foundation of mutual professional respect is rebuilt.”

Lucas told FOX4 he’s not sure how long he will sit in as committee chair, but he wants to make sure the new Kansas City airport project remains on schedule.

“We made a promise to our voters. We made a promise to Kansas Citians that we would deliver the airport project,” Lucas said. “We’re working to make sure we deliver that on time and on budget. I want to make sure as being the interim chair, at least, that we get back to that.”

Loar told FOX she’s in support of the change.

“I think having the mayor take the committee for a few weeks is a good idea,” Loar said. “He can come and wrestle through the committee and get us through some humps.”

Back in July, Loar apologized after a comment to Councilwoman Robinson at a city council meeting. She mockingly accused Robinson of having someone else write a speech she had given on animal control operations.

However, Loar attributed the recent spat to disagreements on KCI contracts, which Lucas addressed as “concerns about ‘contract intervention’ by committee peers.”

Lucas stated he will not comment further on the issue.

“I respect each of you and, as importantly, respect the voters who trusted you to hold your position. I will expect to see you all in committee this week and for us to continue our important work for Kansas Citians in these challenging times.”

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