Aerial view of Kansas City airport
Patrick Tuohey

After first announcing that Kansas City’s Aviation Department Director Mark VanLoh was being “replaced,” The Kansas City Star reissued their story to say that he was retiring. This is surprising given that City officials may soon put before voters a billion-dollar proposal to build a new terminal. Suggesting that VanLoh was getting in the way of the plan, the story ended,

City officials have talked recently about trying to hold that election either in August or November of this year, and they said it was important to have airport leadership that the public trusts.

So in order to restore trust in the Aviation Department, city leaders have undertaken a nationwide search for a qualified and well-trusted airport administrator who will come in, clean house, and present to voters a new and more thoroughly considered airport plan. Right?

No. The Aviation Department will be led by Pat Klein, who, according to his LinkedIn page, has been a city employee for 20 years, but with no apparent experience leading an aviation department. According to that same Star piece, Klein will present to the Council and voters the same airport plan that VanLoh and Mayor James have been pushing.

If city leaders want to restore public trust in them and their policy proposals, they need to do more than merely swap out department heads.

About the Author

Patrick Tuohey
Patrick Tuohey
Senior Fellow of Municipal Policy

Patrick Tuohey works with taxpayers, media, and policymakers to foster understanding of the conse