Discrimination Lawsuits Plaguing Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Mo., has settled 4 discrimination lawsuits filed by former element-time municipal prosecutors at a cost of more than $ 1 million given that last July, and 4 similar lawsuits are still pending.

The prosecutors’ workplace replaced part-time assistant prosecutors with total-time positions in 2011. Eight of the part-time employees who were replaced sued the city for age, race and/or gender discrimination, The Kansas City Star reported.

“One of the most significant expenditures we appear to have, yr in and 12 months out, (is) lawsuits for discrimination, retaliation, and it just appears to me that we could do a far better job on the front end,” stated City Councilman Ed Ford, a personal practice attorney. “It’s just costing us as well much money.”

The 8 former assistant city prosecutors filed their lawsuits individually and alleged diverse circumstances. They had every worked component time for years and all utilized for the new total-time jobs but had been not picked. They alleged the city employed younger, less seasoned candidates.

Former city prosecutor Lowell Gard, who oversaw the 2011 prosecutors’ workplace reorganization prior to retiring late last yr, mentioned the alter has worked out effectively, despite the lawsuits. Gard stated that in 2011, the municipal court was switching to a completely computerized, paperless program that necessary prosecutors to be much much more involved in the court’s situation management and planning. That manufactured moving from 16 portion-timers to 8 total-timers a sensible move, he said.

“It was essential to bring the city’s prosecution work into the 21st century,” he mentioned.

Mayor Sly James said the City Council wasn’t concerned in the municipal prosecutor reorganization. James also mentioned he did not know if it was a excellent decision or not and he understands the disappointment over the settlement payments.

“Yes, that’s much more codes officers you cannot hire. I agree wholeheartedly,” he mentioned. “If we did not have to have a large legal fund, we could divert some of that cash to other stuff.”

City Manager Troy Schulte said while the reorganization was justified, the city is taking actions to minimize future discrimination complaints with far better education and more consistency in promotions, terminations and discipline. He mentioned it’s a challenge to eliminate all discrimination complaints from an organization with 4,000 workers.

“We’ve received some engrained undesirable habits, and we’ve received to root them out,” he explained.

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