Dr. Mark Funkhouser is the Director of the Governing Institute. Prior to that, he was mayor of Kansas City, Missouri from 2007 to 2011. Funkhouser was the first government professional ever elected by Kansas Citians to serve as their mayor. During his controversial term he relied heavily on his experience and training in public finance to lead the city back from the brink of bankruptcy. When he left office, the city’s finances were in the best shape they had been in over a decade, a feat accomplished in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
Funkhouser began his career as a guard at George Junior Republic, a youth corrections facility in Grove City, Pennsylvania. He went on to work as a rehabilitation counselor with the Pennsylvania State Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation and then as an assistant professor at Salem College in Salem, West Virginia, teaching social work and sociology. In 1978 he began a career as a performance auditor, first in Tennessee state government and then for the City of Kansas City, where he served as City Auditor from 1988 until 2006. Under his leadership, the City Auditor’s Office won the Knighton Award for outstanding auditing in 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2004. GOVERNING recognized Funkhouser as one of its Public Officials of the Year in 2003.
While he was the City Auditor, Funkhouser also taught courses in public budgeting, program evaluation, policy analysis, public finance and related topics in the MPA programs of the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He has written extensively about government performance and accountability and spoken at numerous seminars and workshops throughout the world. His book, Honest, Competent Government, was the first global study of performance auditing. In addition, he has served on the editorial boards of several publications including the American Review of Public Administration and the Journal of Government Financial Management.
Funkhouser’s academic training includes a bachelor’s degree in political science from Thiel College, a master’s degree in social work from West Virginia University, an MBA in accounting and finance from Tennessee State University, and an interdisciplinary PhD in public administration and sociology from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Mark was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in the hills of West Virginia. His father, a World War II veteran, worked in a chemical factory and his mother was a nurse. He is the oldest of five children. While teaching at Salem College, he met and fell in love with his wife, Gloria Squitiro. They have been married over 30 years and have two beautiful children. Their daughter, Tara, is 26 years old and has a master’s degree in public administration from Georgia State University. Their son, Andrew, is 22 and is a senior in creative writing at the University of Missouri.