Chriss Howard has seen a lot of change during her 20 years as an administrative professional for Jackson County. Including three county executives.
She was first hired as a temp in July of 1999 and then again in November of that year. She was hired full time in April of 2000 as the scheduler for the county executive. After three years in that position she moved to the GIS Department when it was founded and helped to open what is now the Public Works Tech Center. When the GIS director was also put in charge of IT, Chriss moved back to the downtown courthouse.
The administrative assistant in the Executive Office left and she was asked if she would consider moving to that position and is now the Executive Assistant. Her duties including paying bills, not only for the Executive Office, but also for anything that is specially funded and other contractual services throughout the county. She is also in charge of payroll for the department and fills in on the switchboard.
Chriss is a native of Akron, Ohio. Before starting at Jackson County she worked in the research and grants offices for Children’s Mercy and UMKC.
Being able to help people and make a difference is what Chriss likes best about her job.
“The receptionist’s desk is really the face of the county,” she said. “When people call there they are on their last, ‘I am frustrated,’ so to be able to calmly help people to find their destination is a plus. I feel like I have accomplished something and to be able to boost moral for those coming in and out of the office, that is the best part.”
Chriss said that after all of these years she has seen the big picture of Jackson County. “I know that it is more than just about me and the Executive Office. It is about the county as a whole. We are involved in so many things. Just looking at it from the outside, you have no way to fathom what you are really a part of.”
“I have been through the customer service presentations for the administrative assistants. As Parks+Rec Director Michele Newman says, ‘We are Jackson County and it is Showtime,’” she said.