UPDATED 7:07 p.m.
From her second home in Colorado, Deb Hinsvark confirms she's out as the city's finance director.
“Wayne (Cauthen, the City Manager) and I had a disagreement. He's the city manager, so he wins,” Hinsvark said.
Hinsvark said the decision for her to leave was reached by “mutual agreement,” although the exact details are still under negotiation. She is returning to Kansas City tonight.
Hinsvark confirms an argument last week concerning the financing of the Citadel project at 63rd street and Prospect. “The way it was handled became an issue,” she said.
Hinsvark said she was suspected of leaking information about the problems with the project, and that once it was suggested she might have been the leaker, it was time to go.
“I've really enjoyed Kansas City,” said Hinsvark, whom Cauthen appointed in July 2005. “I'm very disappointed … but life is life.”
And apparently there are some hard feelings. Although the terms of her departure are under discussion, “I'm not allowed to be at City Hall,” Hinsvark said.
Hinsvark came to Kansas City from Denver, where she knew Cauthen.
UPDATE: Cauthen declined to comment, saying it was a personnel matter.
“I can’t think of a worse time for this to happen,” City Councilwoman Deb Hermann, chairwoman of the council’s Finance Committee, said when she got the news today. “It’s a critical time for the economic development policy implementation.”
Hinsvark was hired as Kansas City’s director of finance in 2005 and was named chief financial officer in February 2006. She and her staff have been active in drafting a new policy on economic development incentives for the city. She was also involved in vetting the financial arrangements for several city projects, including the Power & Light District, which will open next year.
Asked whether she was concerned about the city’s debt exposure on the projects, Hinsvark said: “Sure. There’s been a lot of risk taken.”
But that risk was not a factor in her departure, she said.
“In any change of administration, there’s some stress involved,” Hinsvark said, referring to Mark Funkhouser’s election as mayor and the subsequent discussion of Cauthen’s contract.
That stress, Hinsvark said, could have contributed to a strain in her relationship with the city manager.
Funkhouser could not be reached for comment.