Mark Funkhouser failed to be a good mayor for Kansas Citians, but he may have a dream job now.
The wonkish Funkhouser — who was an excellent number-crunching city auditor for 20 years —today was announced as the new publisher of Governing magazine,
in Washington, D.C.
Funkhouser was elected in 2007 with the hope he would bring his skills to the 29th floor as an aggressive champion of better government.
Instead, he got bogged down in fights with the City Council, often about the role his wife, Gloria Squitero, had in running his office.
Eventually, voters rejected Funkhouser; he didn’t even make the two-man general election in 2011, which Sly James won.
Here’s how Governing describes itself: “Regional and national media look to GOVERNING for authoritative news and analysis. USA Today, NPR, Fortune, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, 60 Minutes and Dateline NBC all have cited GOVERNING articles in their reports.”
Funkhouser moves up from his role as director of the Governing Institute, “an initiative affiliated with the magazine that works with state and local leaders to improve performance and outcomes through research, support and education.”
In a statement, Funkhouser said:
“America’s states, cities and counties are at a pivotal moment right now. As political stagnation has continued in Washington, states and localities are taking on new roles and new responsibilities, with fewer and fewer resources at hand.”
The former mayor is exactly right: Local governments are the ones leading the charge now to improve living conditions for so many people. These governments — especially at the city and county levels — often have leaders focused more on nonpartisan ways to bolster economies and enhance neighborhoods, the things that so many residents really care about at the end of the day.