When the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners meets Tuesday, it will do so with only four members — as it has done for nearly 11 long months.
Beset by conflict-of-interest questions, Michael S. Kilgore resigned last April. Since then, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has failed to appoint a replacement to one of the most important citizen-oversight panels in the metropolitan area.
Meanwhile, Mayor Sly James has not succeeded in finding someone to enthusiastically recommend for the position, which requires a big time commitment.
Preserving the status quo is not good for the people of Kansas City. They need another savvy and dedicated public servant scrutinizing the police budget, asking tough questions about how money is being used and wondering why the police aren’t further along with the job of efficiently consolidating their functions with City Hall.
James said Monday through a spokesman that he remains “concerned” about the vacancy and is talking to a diverse group of people about tackling such a crucial position.
The current situation is another indictment of the lackadaisical state control of the Police Department and its $230 million annual budget. Another failure of state control is that a new member requires confirmation by the Missouri Senate, and the General Assembly adjourns in just a few months.
Kansas Citians — and the Police Department — deserve a police board that’s operating at full strength. Nixon and James soon must settle on a highly qualified candidate.