Statement from Mayor Sly James on the Resignation of Governor Eric Greitens

Kansas City, Mo – Mayor Sly James gave the following statement in response to the resignation of Governor Eric Greitens:

It’s sad and unfortunate that our state has had to witness politics at its worst. Missourians need their leaders to find sustainable solutions to critical issues like education, healthcare, infrastructure and gun violence. I hope that a change in leadership will help our legislature refocus its priorities on the very serious needs across our state.”

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Missouri Mayors United for Progress Convenes, Signs Articles of Incorporation

Today, Mayor Sly James convened a meeting of the Missouri Mayors United for Progress (MMUP) to discuss important legislative issues facing municipalities, tactics for increasing citizen engagement and to formalize the organization’s articles of incorporation.

“We have taken another critical step toward building a coalition of leaders that will be able to effectively persuade the state legislature to pass legislation that allows mayors to serve their people, rather than prevent them from governing,” Mayor James said.

MMUP is a bipartisan organization formed to promote policies and legislation that recognizes the importance of cities to the state economy and culture. The group also discussed plans to interview statewide candidates for office and to continue to work on increasing citizen engagement in their respective communities.

Mayors in attendance:

  • Mayor Debra Hickey, Battlefield
  • Mayor Karen Best, Branson
  • Mayor Jo Anne Smiley, Clarksville
  • Mayor John Gwaltney, Edmundson
  • Mayor Greg Stidham, Fayette
  • Mayor Tom Schneider, Florissant
  • Mayor Robert Koerber, Hermann
  • Mayor Bob Lourwood, Ironton
  • Mayor Carrie Tergin, Jefferson City
  • Mayor Sly James, Kansas City
  • Mayor John Burroughs, New Florence
  • Mayor John Olivarri, Osage Beach
  • Mayor Terry Epps, Pine Lawn
  • Mayor John Smedley, Plattewoods
  • Mayor David Slater, Pleasant Valley
  • Mayor Kathy Rose, Riverside
  • Mayor Ken McClure, Springfield
  • Mayor Sally Faith, St. Charles
  • Mayor Len Pagano, St. Peters
  • Mayor Steve Clark, Weatherby Lake

Also present:

  • Dan Ross, Missouri Municipal League
  • Richard Sheets, Missouri Municipal League
  • Shanon Hawk, Armstrong Teasdale
  • Bill Gamble, KC Lobbyist
  • Sam Panettiere, KC Lobbyist
  • Pat Kelly, Municipal League of Metro St. Louis
  • Joni Wickham, Kansas City Chief of Staff
  • Alderwoman Rhoda Gwaltney, Edmundson
  • Alderman Garrett Elliott, Lohman
  • Julie Smith, Recording Secretary

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MLK Advisory Group to Hold Public Hearings

Kansas City, Missouri – The MLK Advisory Group will hold public hearings to provide community members an opportunity to share their ideas for how to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Kansas City, Missouri.

See the full schedule of public hearings below:

Community members unable to attend a public hearing are invited to share their feedback online on the Advisory Group’s KC Momentum page or Facebook page.

The most up-to-date information, including the Advisory Group’s meeting schedule can be found on the City’s MLK Advisory Group page.

MLK Advisory Group to Convene Friday

The MLK Advisory Group will convene for its first meeting Friday, April 20 at 4 p.m. at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center. Prior to soliciting public testimony at upcoming public hearings, the group plans to review the legality of different types of designations, including but not limited to street and other renamings, with the assistance of the city’s legal department and consider possible options for the designation, including The Paseo Boulevard proposal. The meeting is open to the public to observe.

On April 6, Mayor Sly James established the group to make a recommendation for a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., designation in the city. James has asked the group to seek input from the broader community and offer a recommendation within 45 days of the group’s formation.

Community members are invited to share their feedback at a public hearing (schedule is forthcoming), on the KC Momentum page, and through the Advisory Group’s Facebook page.

The most up-to-date information can be found on the City’s MLK Advisory Group page.

CHAIRS:
Rev. Donna Simon – Pastor, St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church
Roger Williams – Principal, Hickman Mills High School

MEMBERS:
Stan Archie – Behavioral Consultant
Jean Paul Chaurand – President, Board of Parks & Recreation Commissioners
Joanne Collins – Former Kansas City Councilwoman
Wesley Fields – Board Chairman, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Rev. Bob Hill – Minister Emeritus, Community Christian Church; Urban Ranger Corps
Bob Kendrick – President, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Rev. Modest Miles – Pastor, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church
Eric Wesson – Editor, The Call
Rev. Rodney Williams – President, NAACP; Pastor, Swope Parkway United Christian Church

Mayor Sly James, local leaders voice opposition to Missouri Legislature’s Proposed Sales Tax Cap

Today, Mayor Sly James and area leaders gathered to oppose legislation, including House Bill 2168, that would restrict the City’s ability to collect voter-approved sales taxes. Sales taxes account for 25% of the city’s budget and funds critical city services and infrastructure, including public safety, parks, public transportation, and capital improvements. Additionally, legislators in Jefferson City have not enumerated steps to apply the cap to localities, especially in accounting for overlapping taxing jurisdictions with multiple, voter-approved sales taxes in effect.

Last Tuesday, 79% of voters overwhelmingly renewed Kansas City’s capital improvements sales tax. Funding from this sales tax is needed to help pay for a new Buck O’Neil Bridge, since lawmakers in Jefferson City have yet to coalesce around a sustainable solution for the state’s infrastructure crisis.

“Legislation that caps our sales taxes doesn’t solve any problems and it flies in the faces of the voters who have approved them,” Mayor Sly James said. “Kansas City’s momentum is undeniable, and our community wants to keep it going. Once again, I’m not asking the State Legislature for anything other than to simply leave us alone.”  

A list of stakeholders joining Mayor James today is below:

  • Chief Gary Reese – Kansas City Fire Department
  • Dept. Chief of the Patrol Bureau Sharon Laningham – Kansas City Police Department
  • Dept. Chief Karl Oakman – Kansas City Police Department
  • Jim Kissick – Heavy Constructors Association of Kansas City
  • Clay Calvin – International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3808
  • Pat “Duke” Dujakovich – Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO
  • Joe Hudson – ‎St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters’ Regional Council
  • Patrick Geschwind – VisitKC
  • Anthony Inzenga – International Association of Fire Fighters Local 42
  • Robbie Makinen – Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
  • Mark McHenry – Kansas City Parks & Recreation Department
  • Joe Reardon – Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
  • Mayor David Slater – City of Pleasant Valley
  • Representatives from the Building Trades

Mayor Sly James Forms City Group to Identify Possible Martin Luther King, Jr., Designations

Today, Mayor Sly James announced a special group of trusted community members who have been asked to make a recommendation for a Martin Luther King, Jr., designation in the city. James will ask the group to engage the broader community to find a solution that truly honors Dr. King and his ideals of equity and respect and aligns with the City’s long-term planning goals and vision for an inclusive community.

“We all want to honor Dr. King. But rather than allow this issue to divide our city, we need to use this as an opportunity to bring our city together and work collaboratively,” James said. “I’ve asked this group to consider all of our options in finding the best way to honor Dr. King’s legacy.”

The group has been asked to consider this issue, engage the broader community, and after doing so, make a recommendation within 45 days.

The advisory group members are:

  • Stanley Archie – Behavioral Consultant
  • Jean Paul Chaurand – President, Board of Parks & Recreation Commissioners
  • Joanne Collins – former Kansas City Councilwoman
  • Wesley Fields – Counsel, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
  • Rev. Bob Hill – Minister Emeritus, Community Christian Church; Urban Ranger Corps
  • Bob Kendrick – President, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
  • Rev. Modest Miles – Pastor, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church
  • Rev. Donna Simon – Pastor, St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church
  • Eric Wesson – Editor, The Call
  • Rev. Rodney Williams – President, NAACP; Pastor, Swope Parkway United Christian Church
  • Roger Williams – Principal, Hickman Mills High School

A public schedule of meetings is forthcoming and will be published on the city’s website.

Missouri Mayors United for Progress Convenes in Jefferson City

Group joined the Missouri Department of Transportation to urge state legislature to pass a primary seat and all driver prohibition on texting while driving

Jefferson City, MO – Mayor Sly James convened 50 and additional local government stakeholders from around the state of Missouri for a meeting of the Missouri Mayors United for Progress (MMUP) today, to discuss issues important to their municipalities.

“As mayors, we’re uniquely positioned to see the real impact of state legislation on Missourians,”
Mayor James said. “We formed Missouri Mayors United for Progress to join together and stand up to the dysfunction at the state level and demand more for our residents.”

MMUP is a bipartisan organization formed a year ago to promote policies and legislation that recognizes the importance of cities to the state economy. During the meeting on Wednesday, MMUP elected its first slate of officers: president – Mayor Sly James; vice president – Mayor Karen Best, Branson; treasurer – Mayor Tom Schneider, Florissant; secretary – Julie Smith, Webster Groves. The executive board will also include nonvoting members of the Missouri Municipal League and the St. Louis Metro League.

The group also joined the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) to urge the Missouri legislature to pass a primary seat and all driver prohibition on texting while driving, as part of MODOT’s Buckle Up/Phone Down Campaign. Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin raised the issue today with the support of fellow mayors Sly James, Ken McClure of Springfield, Tom Schneider of Florissant, and Jaylen Butner, a student at Boonville High School who survived a head-on crash because of his seat belt, emphasized strong bipartisan support for action at the state level.

“At least 13 bipartisan bills to combat distracted driving have been introduced this legislative session,” Mayor Tergin said. “And we’re hopeful this is the year to finally get a primary safety belt law on the books in Missouri, as well as enact legislation to stop texting and driving by drivers of all ages.”

Additionally, the group discussed other state legislation regarding low income housing tax credits (LIHTC), the statewide gas tax, infrastructure, and transportation development districts (TDD).

“We need stronger leadership out of Jefferson City to support funding for transportation in this state and we aren’t getting it,” Mayor Tom Schneider said.

The Women’s Foundation presented their efforts to increase female representation on boards and commissions through the Appointments Project, emphasizing the opportunity for partnership between Missouri cities and the Foundation, as demonstrated by their work with the City of Kansas City

Through our city’s partnership with the Women’s Foundation, we created the Appointments Project, which, since 2011, has increased the percentage of women on boards and commissions in Kansas City from 33% to 42%,” Mayor James said. “And, we just celebrated the Project’s 50th appointment.”

Mayors in attendance:

  • Mayor Debra Hickey – Battlefield
  • Mayor Karen Best – Branson
  • Mayor Christopher Thornton – Brentwood
  • Mayor Terry Briggs – Bridgeton
  • Mayor Bob Nation – Chesterfield
  • Mayor Norman McCourt – CIty of Black Jack
  • Mayor Jo Anne Smiley – City of Clarksville
  • Mayor Carrie Tergin – City of Jefferson
  • Mayor Lyndell Brenton – City of Liberty
  • Mayor Terry Epps – City of Pine Lawn
  • Mayor Ken McClure – City of Springfield
  • Mayor James McGee – City of Vinita Park
  • Mayor Barry Glantz – Creve Coeur
  • Mayor John Gwaltney – Edmundson
  • Mayor Thomas P. Schneider – Florissant
  • Mayor Leroy Benton – Fulton
  • Mayor R.D. Mallams – Gladstone
  • Mayor Debbie  Roach – Grant City
  • Mayor Dr. Robert Koerber – Hermann
  • Mayor William “Bill”  Kolas – Higginsville
  • Mayor Eileen Weir – Independence
  • Mayor Bob Lourwood – Ironton
  • Mayor Carrie Tergin – Jefferson City
  • Mayor Sly James – Kansas City
  • Mayor Thomas  Kirchner – Lohman
  • Mayor Pat Kelly – Municipal League Metro STL
  • Mayor John Olivarri – Osage Beach
  • Mayor Holly Stark – Peculiar
  • Mayor John Smedley – Platte Woods
  • Mayor David Slater – Pleasant Valley
  • Mayor T.R. Dudley – Potosi
  • Mayor Kathy Rose – Riverside
  • Mayor Ken McClure – Springfield
  • Mayor Bill Falkner – St. Joseph
  • Mayor Len  Pagano – St. Peters
  • Mayor Sandy Lucy – Washington
  • Mayor Patrick Botbyl – Weatherby Lake
  • Mayor Gerry Welch – Webster Groves

Mayor Sly James Recognized for Leadership on Paid Family and Medical Leave

Mayor Sly James was recognized last night for his leadership in creating a paid parental leave policy for City employees, making Kansas City among the first cities in the nation to do so. The paid parental leave policy is one component of the Mayor’s Women’s Empowerment initiative, an effort started in 2014 to support women leaders in our city.

“It’s critical for both mothers and fathers to be able to spend that special time after a child’s birth focused on bonding as a family, not worried and stressed about what’s happening at work,” James said. “It’s our responsibility as leaders today to continue the FMLA’s work, providing our employees with the means and support to raise healthy families and strengthen our communities.”

The National Partnership for Women and Families, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that focus on women and families, lauded Mayor James and the City at the organization’s congressional reception celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA was the first major piece of legislation to require employers to allow employees to take leave for their own serious illness, to care for a seriously ill family member, or for the birth or adoption of a child, while allowing them to return to their position or an equivalent position. Additionally, this morning Chief of Staff Joni Wickham will represent Kansas City at a congressional roundtable with the Committee on Education and Workforce on the topic of paid leave.

After attending a screening of The Raising of America documentary hosted by Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO) and realizing that his own staff did not have paid maternity leave, James began working with the City Manager’s Office to develop a paid parental leave policy.

Established in 2016, the City’s paid parental leave policy gives employees up to six weeks of paid leave at 100% wage replacement, which can be used by mothers and fathers for the birth or adoption of a child. During the policy’s first year of implementation, 98 employees had already utilized the policy.

“Having the ability to spend quality time with my newborn daughter in the first eight weeks of her life, and not worrying about if I would have a job or financial loss was a blessing to me and my family,” Alexis Wafer, a City employee, said. “I truly appreciate this initiative being put into place.”

Meanwhile, a number of community partnerships formed to address the issue in workplaces across the city. CCO and the Health Department teamed up to focus on community outreach to promote childhood health and advocating for paid leave. The Women’s Foundation and the Society of Human Resource Management of Greater Kansas City collaborated to bring the When Works Initiative to Kansas City. When Work Works provides best practices for flexible and effective workplaces, and sponsors an award, which scores businesses’ flexible and family-friendly policies against a national sample and provides free benchmarking to businesses.

Mayor James and the City were recognized previously for leadership in paid leave policy by CCO. Additionally, the Women’s Foundation announced in November The “Mayor James He’s for Change Internship” in honor of work to empower women economically and increase the number of women serving on city boards and commissions. Through a partnership with the Women’s Foundation on the Appointments Project, Mayor James’ administration has increased female representation on Kansas City, Missouri’s boards and commissions from 33% in 2014 to 42% in 2017.  

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Mayors of Nashville and Kansas City Make Friendly Wager on AFC Wildcard Game

The upcoming playoff clash between the Tennessee Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs  keeps getting more interesting. The two teams meet this weekend for the first time in a playoff game since 1994. Now, the cities’ mayors are raising the stakes. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and Kansas City Mayor Sly James, have struck a friendly wager. With both cities known for their barbecue, the winning city’s mayor will receive a BBQ meal from the loser.

“Nothing goes better with the sweet taste of victory than some delicious BBQ,” Mayor James said. “I’m only sorry that Mayor Barry won’t get to experience it. Go Chiefs!”

Regardless of which NFL team prevails on Saturday afternoon, each NFL team will make a $1,000 donation to a local homelessness charity—a win for both cities.

“With so much on the line each game, the playoffs are the most exciting time of the year for all of us in Chiefs Kingdom,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. “Mayor James has been a tremendous supporter of ours and we are proud that he’s on our side. What a fun way to show off our Kansas City barbecue as well as rally around those in need.”

If the Chiefs are victorious, Jack Cawthon will send a spread of Nashville fare to Mayor James from Jack’s BBQ. And, if the Titans win, Mayor James will be sending some of Kansas City’s finest to Music City.

“I remember Kansas City barbecue well from growing up outside the city,” Mayor Barry said. “It gets a lot of national attention, which is well-deserved. And I look forward to eating some after the Titans beat the Chiefs on Saturday.”

The Titans and Chiefs will go head-to-head on Saturday, Jan. 6 at 3:35 p.m. CST at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The winner of this round will go to on to play either the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers.

Statement from Mayor James on KCI Resolution

“Last month, Kansas Citians stepped up to invest in the future of our City by voting for a new KCI terminal. And today, I’m proud that the City Council took the next step toward ensuring that we build a terminal that works for Kansas City by passing a resolution that will continue good faith negotiations with Edgemoor. We still have a long way to go in this process, but if I’ve learned anything from my time as Mayor of this great city, it’s that when we work together, we can achieve the seemingly unachievable. I’m proud that we’ve ended 2017 on such a high note and look forward to 2018, when we’ll continue our work to build a terminal as world-class as our city.”