KCMO councilwoman's new job at KCP&L prompts city attorney to address conflict of interest concerns

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Word of a Kansas City councilwoman’s new job prompted the city attorney to address concerns about a potential conflict of interest. 

This week, local media outlets reported  Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo is taking a part-time position at Kansas City Power & Light Co. as manager of public affairs.

Questions about potential conflict of interest surfaced on Twitter Thursday, drawing a response from Circo . The councilwoman also indicated she approached City Attorney Bill Geary in January to discuss the situation.

On Friday, Circo’s office provided 41 Action News with a legal memo prepared by Geary.

READ THE MEMO

Geary wrote there is no ethical prohibition from a member of the Council working at KCP&L, but spelled out circumstances where Circo will have to recuse herself from votes or discussion because of conflict of interest.

“While still a member of the City Council, the obvious concern is a conflict of interest arising from specific circumstances,” Geary wrote. “Having a conflict of interest is not illegal – if you take appropriate steps to remove yourself from all official considerations of the circumstances.”

Geary also said confidential information learned while on the council cannot be shared with KCP&L.

Finally, Circo is prohibited from lobbying the city on behalf of the utility provider for one year after her council term expires.

Circo will start working in the new role in mid-April. The job will become full-time when Circo, who’s been once the Council since 2007 , terms out in 2015.

Ryan Kath can be reached at ryan.kath@kshb.com. You can also follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

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