Former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes, chair of the Jackson County Charter Task Force, presented the panel's list of recommendations for changing the Charter to the County Legislature during its May 10 session. County Executive Mike Sanders appointed the Task Force March 12, 2010, to conduct a comprehensive review of the Charter, which County voters adopted in 1970.
The County Legislature will review the task force's recommendations and will determine which proposed changes will eventually be placed on an election ballot.
Jackson County voters will make the ultimate decision regarding which, if any, changes are made to the County Charter.
In presenting the Task Force's recommendations, Barnes included this cover memo:
Please see for your consideration the attached recommended Charter Amendments proposed by the Task Force.
The Task Force, appointed by County Executive Mike Sanders, worked for two months in order to present you with these recommendations in time for the Legislature to consider and place on the upcoming August ballot any or all final proposed amendments that you deem appropriate.
It is our understanding that these recommendations represent the most significant change in the County Charter since its initial passage by Jackson County voters in 1970. These proposals include:
? Modernizing the County Charter by eliminating references to County Departments that no longer exist and clarifying the duties and responsibilities of the County Executive and Legislature.
? Creating a higher ethics standard for future County leaders which focuses on limiting executive power. These proposals would make permanent the changes already made by Mr. Sanders since taking office in 2007.
? Creating a more efficient system by consolidating the Office of Human Relations and Citizen Complaints and the Ethics Commission. This would allow for greater convenience for the Jackson County taxpayer.
We believe our recommendations present an opportunity to modernize the County Charter by bringing it up to date with current realities while still maintaining the spirit in which the original plan was established.
All the members of the Task Force were honored to have been selected for this important assignment.
We stand ready to respond to any questions and will continue to work with the Executive and Legislature to achieve final passage of the Amendments you place on the ballot this August.
Sincerely,Kay W. BarnesChair, Jackson County Charter Task Force