Longtime KC city attorney will step down

Longtime Kansas City attorney Galen Beaufort will leave the job Jan. 4, City Manager Troy Schulte has told the City Council.

The current assistant city attorney, Bill Geary, will replace Beaufort, according to Schulte’s confidential memo, which was sent Wednesday. The Star obtained it Thursday after a Sunshine Law request.

Although Beaufort will step down from the position he has held for more than a decade, he will remain with the city as legal counsel on a wide variety of projects, Schulte’s email says.

“Galen’s responsibilities will shift to becoming lead counsel for the new KCI terminal project as well as providing continuing legal counsel to the Manager’s office for the complex legal agreements such as the Sprint Center, Power and Light, Citadel, HEDFC receivership and union negotiations,” Schulte wrote.

Beaufort declined to comment until members of his staff could be notified of the change. Geary did not respond to an email request for comment.

In his memo, Schulte praised Geary as “arguably the leading municipal attorney in the state.”

Some council members reached Thursday said Beaufort had done a good job under often difficult circumstances.

His service has been controversial at times. He has tangled with some of the judges of Municipal Court, city prosecutors and some attorneys, who criticized his efforts to reform the city’s plea bargaining system for traffic tickets.

He has also battled with longtime petition gatherer Clay Chastain and has been involved in several high-profile discrimination cases involving the city. He also unsuccessfully represented citizens earlier this year who sought to block a citywide vote on renewing the 1 percent earnings tax.

Schulte’s memo also announced the appointment of Sherri McIntyre as the city’s new public works director, effective Jan. 1. McIntire will become the first woman in city history to run the Public Works Department.