Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders announced his intention to form a citizen panel to review the County Charter during his 2009 State of the County Address. The following is an excerpt from the speech in which he addressed the Charter review. CLICK HERE to read/or view the speech in its entirety:
County Executive Mike Sanders noted the need to review the Jackson County Charter during his 2009 State of the County address given November 12, 2009.
The Show-Me attitude of Missouri thrives here within Jackson County government, inside the walls of this courthouse. For the last three years we have shown our citizens we can make their County government leaner, smarter and more service-oriented—and less costly to operate. We have opened the Regional Correctional Center. We have made the renovations necessary to save the historic Truman Courthouse. We have transformed Constructing Futures from an idea into a viable program that literally is going to change lives in our community.
But our work is not finished.
The veil of secrecy that once surrounded this courthouse, that once shrouded the business practices of this Courthouse, must never return. Upon taking office, one of the first executive orders that I signed voluntarily limited the County Executive’s power to issue unlimited no-bid professional service contracts, without either legislative oversight, public input or oversight by anyone. By voluntarily limiting my power, we as government sent a powerful and clear message that all of the people’s business must be open for public scrutiny.
However, we must continue to raise the bar of public expectations about how our government operates and about what we and the County should expect from ourselves. The public expects and rightly should demand that all of the County‘s business be conducted in the open and with the highest of ethical standards. It is to that end, Jackson County adopted its first-ever comprehensive ethics code with the help of Mr. McInerny who is here with us today. Thank you very much for all of your hard work.
It does little good, however, to enact reforms if an executive in the future looking to expand their power can, with merely the stroke of a pen, cancel out those reforms by simply signing a new executive order.
Therefore, I am proud to announce today that I will be forming in 2010 a Jackson County Charter Commission to make recommendations to the voters of Jackson County, for updating Jackson County’s Charter—our own constitution.
Every 10 years, we are allowed this opportunity to examine our County Charter. 2010 is one of those years. I want the 2010 County Charter Commission to look specifically at making permanent our initiatives surrounding ethics reform and limiting the powers afforded current and future County Executives.
We have in these last three years been driven in Jackson County government to be true to Franklin’s words, to see to it that our government has been and will continue to be well administered. The 2010 Charter Commission will be charged with safeguarding the reforms we have put in place today and assuring that they will be there to benefit future generations.