KC city manager’s power of the purse doesn’t fly in other cities

By the standards of numerous other big cities across the country, Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte and his department heads enjoy a blank check. Without authorization from the Kansas City Council, they can solicit bids and approve any construction contract up to $1.3 million, or other expenditures of as much as $400,000.

That broad authority is under challenge from a group of City Council members, who have introduced an ordinance that would trim his power to sign on the dotted line without their approval.

Managerial spending limits for non-construction contracts at City Hall have risen by more than 1,000 percent since the year 2000, when the cap was $35,000. The ceiling on construction deals has ballooned more than 3,500 percent.

Councilman Quinton Lucas introduced an ordinance last week that would reduce thresholds to $750,000 for construction, $250,000 for routine goods and services and $50,000 for consultants and other outside expertise.

The measure would also require Schulte to file quarterly reports on all contracts executed without council review.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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