City of Parkville settles discrimination lawsuit with former employee

The City of Parkville recently settled a discrimination suit with a former employee.

Kirk Rome served as director of public works until mid-2014. In June 2015, he filed an employment discrimination suit, claiming discrimination based on his age, sex and race. Rome alleged Parkville city administrator Lauren Palmer made disparaging remarks about “middle-aged white men” in Platte County and that he was terminated without proper procedure. 
The city denied all charges.

A jury trial before Judge Thomas Fincham was scheduled to start Oct. 17, but the Parkville Board of Aldermen voted 4-3 during a Sept. 20 executive session to settle the claim for $40,000.

“The city denies all allegations made by Rome and denies any liability for any of the claims asserted in the lawsuit,” a public notice issued after the vote states. “The city made an economic decision to settle the lawsuit since the cost of trial likely would have exceeded the settlement amount.”

Parkville’s liability insurance carrier, Midwest Public Risk, will cover the settlement amount, which covers Rome’s claimed damages, costs and attorney fees. The payment covers “personal injury and emotional distress, not lost wages,” according to the settlement agreement. 
The civil suit was dismissed Sept. 28.

Earlier this month, Palmer announced her resignation after three years on the job. She has accepted a position as assistant city manager in Independence, Mo.

As city administrator, she oversaw day-to-day operations for city services including police, community development, sanitary sewer, streets, parks and internal services. 

On Monday, Oct. 10, the Parkville Board of Aldermen approved an agreement with Strategic Government Resources (SGR) for both interim city administrator and executive search services. Kirk Davis started his tenure as interim city administrator on Monday, Oct. 24.

Davis will serve in the capacity until a permanent replacement is found, a process expected to take about four months. 

Davis has 37 years of experience in local government and previously served as city administrator in Gladstone, Mo. for 18 years. He has also worked for the City of Lee’s Summit and Jackson County. 

Davis will work a maximum of 40 hours per week at a rate of $60.34 an hour until the permanent position is filled. SGR will conduct the executive search for the permanent city administrator for a flat fee of $18,000.