City manager breaks silence after call for resignation

7 months 1 week 1 day ago Tuesday, February 13 2018 Feb 13, 2018 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 4:17:00 PM CST February 13, 2018 in News
By: Kyreon Lee, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - City Manager Mike Matthes broke the silence after a group of people called for his resignation at a council meeting on February 5.

Matthes said most of the response has been positive. 

"It certainly has created a conversation," he said. 

Matthes became the target of criticism after a presentation at a Columbia Values Diversity celebration last month. 

Matthes said it's important to talk about bias and its meanings. 

"If you look out there in the community, our stereotypes keep us from hiring as diverse workforce as we could," Matthes said. 

He said people need to recognize their stereotypes.

"We have to admit it, have the courage to admit we have a stereotype. I believe we do. I believe we are all raised a certain way and we view the world through that lense and so we naturally just have assumptions we make," Matthes said.

Race Matters, Friends member Suzanne Bagby said the presentation Matthes gave was inappropriate.

"On the celebration of the diversity breakfast for Dr. Martin Luther King was not the day for Mike Matthes, a white city manager to get up there and point out anything that made him uncomfortable. That was Dr. King's day," she said.
Matthes said looking back on it, he wish he would've avoided offending anyone.
"I did everything you're supposed to do with a speech like that. I wrote it carefully, I vetted it with many different groups," he said.

When asked if racism is alive and well in Columbia, Matthes said he sees it everyday.

"Racism is a legacy and albatross in our country, and we have to deal with it honestly," he said.

Matthes said the city has been working on the unemployment gap for four years.

"When we started this strategic plan African American unemployment was 15.5 percent in Columbia, where white unemployment was 5 percent," he said.

Now, he said, the unemployment rate for African Americans in Columbia is 8 percent. He was explaining those numbers at the breakfast when he made the controversial comments about bias.

"I think most folks got the message, but some didn't think I said it very well," Matthes said. 

He said the best thing he can do is sit down and talk with people in order to have a better understanding. 

"I ask them to educate me on what was offensive, so that I can avoid that in the future," Matthes said. 

Moving foward, he said race and bias will still be apart of the conversation.

"It's uncomfortable conversation for a lot of people and I will refine my language about how we talk about bias," Matthes said. 

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - A water main break in MU's Hearnes Center early Saturday morning caused at least $100,000 worth of damage,... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 7:17:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
FULTON - The Fulton Police Department responded to shots fired at a McDonald's located at 303 S. Business 54 early... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 5:49:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a past sexual assault,... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 5:16:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
AUXVASSE - The Callaway County Sheriff's Office arrested five people Friday morning during a narcotics search at a residence in... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 4:16:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
FESTUS (AP) — A man and his adult son were killed when their small plane crashed near... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 8:20:00 AM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU partnered with two local groups to host a Chinese Moon Festival Saturday night at Twin Lake Recreational... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 8:02:00 AM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD — President Trump held a campaign-style rally in Springfield Friday. Trump spoke in front of an at-capacity crowd... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 10:15:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A 46-year-old woman who set a fire that resulted in the deaths of two Kansas City... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 6:22:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Emissions near a troubled St. Louis County landfill once posed health concerns for workers and nearby... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 5:02:52 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
JOPLIN (AP) — Missouri Southern State University has abandoned plans for a dental school that would've operated in partnership with... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 4:51:59 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Some St. Louis police officers are still struggling with injuries more than a year after protesters... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 4:44:27 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police said a fifth arrest has been made in connection with an alleged homicide on Sylvan Lane... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 3:50:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police arrested a man early Friday after reportedly finding him outside an apartment complex, looking into a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 3:27:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY - The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals ruled Friday to allow the Clean Missouri Initiative to stay... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 2:53:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – MU is one of only two Southeastern Conference universities to experience double-digit growth in new freshmen, while several... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 1:12:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD - President Donald Trump is set to campaign at the JQH Arena for U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley,... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 12:43:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri Board of Curators announced a resolution Friday supporting the University of Missouri-Columbia's efforts to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 11:23:00 AM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - 82,000 Americans are still missing as the result of our country's biggest wars. POW/MIA Recognition Day is... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 10:59:00 AM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 54°
5am 52°
6am 52°
7am 51°
8am 54°