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Newly appointed Finance director accepts other position

Gerald J. Mecca will not be assuming the position of director of the Finance Department as previously announced. Human Resources Department Director Gary O’Bannon received an e-mail message from Mecca today indicating he has decided to take a higher paying position with a public benefit corporation in Atlanta.

“This decision was not taken lightly,” Mecca wrote in the e-mail.

“I liked everything about working in KC and living there. My family was enthusiastic as well. We were talking via the Internet with several realtors in KC regarding permanent housing up until a week ago. I thought the compensation was fine as well as the responsibilities of the position. But when you are offered six weeks vacation, a 401k plan with a 7.5 percent employer match and a combined base salary and bonus of roughly $200, 000, it does profoundly alter your perspective,” Mecca wrote.

Mecca had been selected from 81 applicants and seven semi-finalists for the position. His most recent position was with the Monroe County Finance Department in Rochester, N.Y., where he served as chief financial officer for 12 years.

Negotiations occurred between Mecca and O’Bannon while City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen was out of town. An agreement was reached between the two parties on July 19, and Mecca told O’Bannon he would begin his duties in Kansas City on Aug. 16.

O’Bannon said in the time since Mecca accepted the position, the two had several exchanges regarding Mecca’s scheduled arrival in Kansas City.

“At no time before Mecca’s e-mail today, was the City made aware that Mecca still considered himself available in the job market,” O’Bannon said.

“I am shocked by Mr. Mecca declining to report to work to fill the position of Finance Director with the City of Kansas City,” said Bob Beezat of the PAR Group, the executive search firm that handled the recruitment for the position.

“In over 20 years of local government search work, I recall only one other instance where a candidate refused to report after an agreement was negotiated and a starting date was agreed upon,” Beezat said.

“We are prepared to immediately work with the City to continue this search and bring it to a successful conclusion,” Beezat added.

“We will work with the PAR group to evaluate all of our options in hopes of getting the position expediently filled with a highly qualified candidate,” Cauthen said.

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