American Jazz Museum director to step down

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The executive director of Kansas City’s American Jazz Museum told City Council members Wednesday she plans to step down from her post.

At a meeting of the city’s Finance and Governance Committee, Cheptoo Kositany-Bucker, executive director at the museum, said she will step down after a consulting firm recommended sweeping changes to museum leadership. She did not give council members an exact date for her departure.

“It is very important for the American Jazz Museum to exist, pivot and go to the next level,” Kositany-Bucker said. “I'm not going to be the leader moving forward for it, but I am going to be a champion every step of the way.”

Kansas City is one of the museum’s partners and helps fund the museum. Council members Jermaine Reed and Quinton Lucas also serve on the museum’s board of directors. They both complimented Kositany-Bucker and thanked her for serving as an executive director for approximately two years. They acknowledged some of the issues the consultant’s report raised about the museum predated her time as the museum’s leader. 

“So I thank you for addressing them and for your staff addressing them,” Lucas said. 

That report, issued earlier this month, said the museum needed a “complete rebirth” to address a number of issues.

“The Museum’s staff leadership has been responsible for numerous missteps, questionable decisions, and a lack of transparency,” the report read.

Council members met Wednesday to discuss ways to address those issues and fund the museum, which is in debt. 

The committee agreed to a new plan to give the museum more money than it typically does on several conditions. The plan calls for $730,000 instead of the typical $500,000. 

The city will hand over the money on condition the museum replace its board of directors by May 15 and use the city’s auditing system to track how it addresses the 26 recommended changes from the consulting firm.

The chair of the museum board did not object. 

“One of the things I'm most proud of is that through all of this both the staff and the board have been crystal clear about what is of greatest import: that is the sustaining and the future of the American Jazz Museum,” Anita Maltbia said. 

The committee’s proposal will need the approval of the entire city council before it can go into effect. 

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