Sly James takes formal oath of office as KC mayor

Kansas City Mayor Sly James took the formal oath of office today before a packed City Council chamber, and vowed to work to create an efficient, ethical and unified city.

“I’d like to make Kansas City one of the most ethical cities in this country,” James said in his inaugural address, after he took the oath to become Kansas City’s 56th mayor.

At the beginning of his speech, James called for a moment of silence to honor America’s soldiers overseas and in recognition of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Later in his speech, James also recalled his initial Marine Corps training 41 years ago, that taught him how a disparate group of strangers from all over the country could come together in a common purpose and to watch each other’s backs.

“We learned the meaning of esprit de corps,” he said, adding that he hopes he and the council and citizens throughout the city can capture that same spirit “to solve our problems together.”

“I believe that by coming together, we can do more than just feel good,” he said. “We can also be good.”

James pledged that his administration will be fact-based, results-oriented, and ready to try innovative approaches to creating a more efficient, effective city.

“My administration will make decisions based on evidence and fact, not anecdote and conjecture,” he said.

James seemed to take a shot at former Mayor Mark Funkhouser, who was sitting in the audience.

“You elected only me, no one else,” James said, adding that no member of his family will be employed by the city. But later, James said that was not a veiled reference to the mayor’s wife and other relatives, who volunteered with the city, and that he was just assuring people that he will act ethically as their mayor.

The 12 other city council members also took the oath of office Monday and said they were ready to get busy with the city’s business.

“We’re all anxious to get to work and try and make some improvements to our city,” said 5th District Councilman Michael Brooks.

Those in the audience said they have high hopes for the new mayor and council.

Words of praise even came from Mike Burke, whom James defeated in the race for mayor.

Burke said he thought the inaugural address was excellent.

“There’s a great sense of optimism in City Hall,” Burke said of the new administration. “He’s a good person and I think he’ll turn out to be a great mayor.”