|James Nunnelly, Chairman of the advisory nominating committee named by Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders to help appoint a new County Prosecutor, today announced the three finalists for the position vacated by James F. Kanatzar: Kevin D. Harrell, Jean Peters-Baker and Bryan Round. > MORE
New Prosecutor Appointment Process Expected To Be Completed In 2 Weeks
Interim Prosecutor Named
APRIL 29, 2011 -- Calling her a "consummate professional," Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders named Melissa Mauer-Smith interim Prosecuting Attorney on Thursday. She'll serve in that role briefly as the process for appointing a new Jackson County Prosecutor is expected to be completed during the next two weeks.
Melissa Mauer-Smith is the longest serving senior level manager in the Prosecutor's Office, and she previously served as interim Prosecuting Attorney in 2007.
Mauer-Smith previously served on an interim basis in 2007 after Sanders left the Prosecutor's Office to assume the duties of County Executive. Jim Kanatzar was appointed Jackson County Prosecutor in early 2007, then won election to the Office in 2008. Kanatzar resigned as Prosecutor to accept an appointment to the Missouri 16th Judicial Circuit bench. He was sworn in as a judge Thursday morning.
Mauer-Smith is a 24-year veteran of the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office. Currently, she serves as a Chief Trial Assistant and Director of Family Support. She is the longest serving senior level manager in the Prosecutor's Office.
"She has spent nearly her entire career, stretching over almost 25 years, in the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office," said Sanders. "The people who know her know that Melissa has a very steady hand and is the correct person and the best person to fill this role."
The Advisory Committee Sanders appointed to review County Prosecutor applicants and conduct initial interviews submitted a list of three finalists to the County Executive on Thursday afternoon. Sanders will conduct private interviews with each of the three finalists. He explained those interviews and background checks could take two weeks to be finished, at which time he will appoint Kanatzar's replacement.
Sanders expressed complete confidence in Mauer-Smith's ability to temporarily handle the duties of County Prosecutor.
"I am proud to say I've been a career prosecutor," said Mauer-Smith. "During the 24 years I've worked in the office, I've been fortunate enough to work with Prosecuting Attorneys Albert Riederer, Claire McCaskill, Bob Beaird, Mike Sanders and Jim Kanatzar. They have provided me an outstanding example to follow during this brief interim period."
Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders explains that whomever he appoints to be the new County Prosecutor needs "to be ready to do the job from Day 1."
Asked what qualities he would look for in the person he eventually appoints to succeed Kanatzar, Sanders stressed the need "to be ready to do the job from Day 1."
"When you are doing the job of Prosecuting Attorney, there isn't a lot of time for on-the-job training," he said. "You can't take 12 months or 15 months, or even 12 to 15 weeks, to learn what it is to be the Prosecutor."
The County Prosecutor, he added, is not only Jackson County's chief law enforcement official, but is also a "leader for the legal community in this entire region."