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Unified Government CFO Kathleen VonAchen resigns

UG under investigation for purchase-card issues
Kathleen VonAchen.jpg
Posted at 2:45 PM, Sep 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 17:26:55-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kathleen VonAchen has resigned as chief financial officer with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas.

VonAchen’s department includes six divisions — overseeing the UG’s budget, accounting, research, payroll, treasury and capital/economic development.

According to the UG website: “The Finance Department is responsible for the collection and distribution of all revenues, payment of all expenses, the processing of payments to all employees and vendors, administration and management of all debt, preparation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and the development of the Annual Operating and Capital Budget.”

The Finance Department also manages “long-term financial planning and financial policies.”

VonAchen — a native of Hutchinson, Kansas, who graduated from Washburn and Wichita state — started with the UG as CFO in February 2016, according to her LinkedIn profile. She previously worked in various capacities as a government finance officer in Colorado and California.

The KSHB 41 I-Team obtained a copy of VonAchen's resignation letter. It says her last day will be Dec. 14. To read the full letter click this link.

"Given the recent two recommendations to shift the reporting line of the CFO away from the CAO position and to move Budget Office out from the oversight of the CFO, I decided this revised position didn't fit with my professional construct," the letter said.

VonAchen started her career as a budget analyst for Kansas under former Gov. Mike Hayden.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation recently executed a search warrant at a UG building and the UG is under investigation for alleged misuse of government-issued purchasing cards, according to court documents.

Consultants hired by the UG have recommended significant changes to the UG’s policies with respect to employee-issued purchasing cards.

Two days before the KBI executed its search warrant and three days after the consultants’ proposal, interim County Administrator Cheryl Harrison-Lee advised UG employees about plans to “reevaluate the procurement card program."

VonAchen told the I-Team her resignation has nothing to do with the KBI investigation. She claims she was cleared by the KBI.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly appointed VonAchen to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement Board of Trustees in February 2021, but the Kansas Senate voted against her confirmation in May 2021.

Legislators at the time questioned her role as a finance officer from January 2008 to March 2011 for the city of Stockton, California, which declared bankruptcy in 2012.

VonAchen was chosen as one of eight honorees as 2022 CFO of the Year among Kansas City-area nonprofits in July by The Kansas City Business Journal.