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News Releases 2020

Posted on: May 18, 2020

Jackson County Executive announces CARES Act volunteer advisory group

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. today is announcing members of a volunteer advisory group that will help guide his administration on spending CARES Act funds received from the federal government. The group consists of five members, with one lead advisor and four senior advisors:

  • Sly James, JD 
    • Lead Advisor
    • Former Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri; Co-founder of Wickham James Strategies & Solutions and licensed attorney
    • Sly James served as Kansas City Mayor from 2011-2019. During his tenure, Kansas City enjoyed a renaissance boasting nationally recognized successes in modern transportation development, third-grade reading initiatives, SMART City technology deployment and adoption of a 20-year infrastructure repair program. Prior to his election, Sly enjoyed a successful legal career which spanned almost three decades. Over the years, he has served on numerous boards and commissions in leadership position. Born and raised on the city’s eastside, Sly graduated cum laude from Rockhurst College (now Rockhurst University) with a B.A. in English and earned his law degree, also cum laude, from the University of Minnesota in 1983. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
  • Mary Anne Jackson, MD
    • Senior Advisor – Public Health
    • Dean of UMKC School of Medicine
    • In addition to her role as Dean of UMKC’s Medical School, Dr. Mary Anne Jackson is a pediatric infectious diseases expert, affiliated with Children’s Mercy and internationally known for her research. She is widely recognized for developing one of the nation’s leading and most robust pediatric infectious diseases programs. She serves as a member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, at the direction of the United States Assistant Secretary of Health, to provide recommendations for ways to achieve optimal prevention of human infectious diseases through vaccine development. During the current COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Jackson has served as one of the six physicians statewide advising Missouri Governor Mike Parson. She also continues to be a frequently sourced expert for the media and national publications.
  • Cindy Circo
    • Senior Advisor – Economic Recovery and Public Private Partnerships
    • Evergy Senior Business Manager; Former Mayor Pro-Tem of Kansas City, Missouri and 5th District Councilwoman
    • A former small business owner and lifelong Jackson County resident, Cindy Circo served two terms on the Kansas City, MO City Council, the last four as Mayor Pro Tem. As a city leader, she was a catalyst for many area initiatives, including leading Kansas City’s sustainable infrastructure solutions, bringing the Housing Department out of receivership, and spearheading the effort to bring Google’s Ultra-High-Speed Fiber to Kansas City. In addition, Cindy helped establish KC BizCare, a centralized set of resources for entrepreneurs. Currently, Cindy leads the Business Solution Centers for Evergy, where she and her team manage over 3,000 commercial and industrial accounts in Kansas and Missouri. She also serves as Chair of VisitKC.
  • Dr. Clara E. Irazábal-Zurita, PhD
    • Senior Advisor – Community Development and Humanitarian Response
    • Clara Irazábal is the Director of the Latinx and Latin American Studies Program and Professor of Planning with tenure in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design (AUPD) at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC). Before joining UMKC, she was the Latin Lab Director and Associate Professor of Urban Planning in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, New York City. She got her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and has two master’s degrees. In her research and teaching, she explores the interactions of culture, politics and placemaking, and their impact on community development and socio-spatial justice in Latin American cities and Latino and immigrant communities.
  • Rachelle Styles, CPA, MAcc
    • Senior Advisor – Compliance and Transparency 
    • Owner of R. Styles Financial, LLC
    • A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Rachelle Styles boasts more than 18 years of combined public and private tax accounting experience. She is a member of the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants and past member of the United Way Young Leaders Society and KC Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants. In 2009, she completed the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program. Rachelle served six years on the Board of Directors of the REACH Healthcare Foundation and has also instructed numerous Ethics CPE presentations for the Governmental Association of Accountants. Currently, she serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Services Fund of Jackson County.

The County received approximately $122 million under the federal government’s CARES Act to aid in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The County is responsible for the appropriate use of the funds under the guidelines issued by the federal government. Members of the volunteer advisory group will provide recommendations to the County Executive and Legislature on how to allocate funding consistent with CARES Act restrictions to have greatest and most direct impact for the Jackson County community during this critical public health emergency.

More information on the volunteer advisory group’s process to make informed funding recommendations to the County Executive and Legislature will be discussed with the Legislature at the next legislative meeting.


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