Ken Evans, spokesman for Jackson County government since November 1998, stunned county officials and his boss, Katheryn Shields, Monday afternoon. Evans' official title is public relations and e-government manager but he is more known for being the public face and voice for Shields especially over the past two years as she withstood a federal grand jury probe.
During the county legislative meeting at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Evans announced he was leaving his job on the second floor of the courthouse. The surprise came when he said he was moving up to the 11th floor where he will serve as spokesman for Shields' nemesis, Prosecutor Mike Sanders. Sanders praised Evans for his skill and experience - but didn't mention how Evans has used his skills and experience to vehemently defend Shields and criticize him.
Evans said once Shields announced in February that she was not seeking re-election that he began to explore opportunities to remain in the county government. Shields is considering running for Kansas City mayor next year.
"I am very pleased that I have the opportunity to continue working for Jackson County," Evans said Monday. "And I am just as pleased to have an opportunity to work for someone who I have gained a lot of respect for."
Evans sidestepped questions about whether tension with Shields was behind his departure. But he pointedly did not tell Shields' about his impending resignation before the meeting.
Shields has recently faced turmoil among her top lieutenants and Evans, who prided himself on being in the loop, found out about her February announcement from reporters.
Posted by DeAnn Smith 2:30 p.m.