Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Chair Ed Eilert on Wednesday appointed Second District Commissioner Jim Allen to serve as the county’s representative on the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority Board.
Allen effectively replaces District Three Commissioner Steve Klika, who had been the county’s KCATA representative for the past two years. Klika’s term on the board expired this month, though he and the county had faced pressure regarding his continued service on the board after it came to light a few weeks ago that he had a physical altercation with a member of the KCATA staff.
Asked about the incident by the Shawnee Mission Post, Klika acknowledged that he had placed his hands on a KCATA employee’s face, but characterized the interaction as harmless and said he had touched her to demonstrate how to get someone’s attention. But after Libby Lynch, the KCATA benefits manager Klika had the interaction with, read his public account of the incident, she felt compelled to step forward and share her side of the story. Lynch told the Kansas City Star that Klika had grabbed her and violently shaken her. She requested that Klika be removed from the KCATA board in mid-December.
Klika had been serving as president of the KCATA board at the time of the incident in July. He resigned from that role without public explanation the week of Aug. 21, and was replaced by vice president Daniel Serda for the remainder of 2017.
Allen, the former mayor of Shawnee, brings a good deal of experience to the role. He currently serves on the Mid-America Regional Council Total Transportation Policy Committee and the Johnson County Transportation Council.