Kansas City’s 3rd District Councilwoman Melissa Robinson wants to hold a committee meeting and a no confidence vote against City Manager Brian Plattsaid, she said April 20.
If a no confidence vote were to pass, the city manager would be fired. Like many cities, Kansas City has an appointed city manager who is the head of the city’s administration and one of the most powerful positions in local government.
Robinson told KSHB 41, which broke the story, that the city council has received complaints about how Platt runs his office and city government.
Robinson says people are objecting to Platt taking items out of the budget after ordinances pass while others take issue with hiring and firing practices. There’s also concern about his inability to repair a discriminatory culture within the city’s fire department along with other miscellaneous complaints about mismanagement across city departments.
As we’ve previously reported in Dec. 2020, when Brian Platt was hired in 2020, he arrived with controversy. Platt was one of four finalists for the job of KC city manager, he had the least amount of government experience and was the only White finalist, but ultimately got the job.
Two days after Platt’s hiring, it was revealed that in his previous job he was one of eight Jersey City, NJ, city officials accused of racial discrimination in a lawsuit filed earlier that year. While that lawsuit was eventually dismissed, one of the plaintiffs, Frank Gilmore, said on Twitter that Platt was part of systemic racism that targeted Black and Brown workers causing them to lose their jobs, while their White counterparts received promotions.
According to an email The Voice received, Robinson was prepared to introduce a resolution of no confidence in Platt. That resolution was not introduced.
However, after the completion of its regular agenda, the council met in a closed executive session. By law, special sessions are reserved for discussion of personnel and legal matters.
Councilman Eric Bunch (4th District) stated that he was aware of Robinson’s effort but did not plan to support it. He said he viewed the vote of no confidence as too divisive and that he prefers to address personnel issues in a more deliberative and collaborative process.
After the executive session, Robinson said the vote of no confidence is on hold, for now. While KC’s city charter — which functions as the city’s constitution — doesn’t include the phrase “vote of no confidence,” it does outline how the mayor and/or city council could remove the city manager.
Removing Platt from office would require an affirmative vote by the mayor and six council members. If the mayor does not vote to remove the city manager, Platt could still be removed but it would require an affirmative vote by nine of the 12 council members.