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New Jackson County legislator wants Executive Frank White to show up to meetings

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Michael Bersin
Before joining the legislature, Manny Abarca IV was the treasurer of the Kansas City Public School Board and the Jackson County Democratic Committee.

District 1 Legislator Manny Abarca IV told Up To Date the county executive doesn't attend meetings and isn't transparent about the annual budget. White's office said that's not true.

The new Jackson County Legislature was sworn in less than two months ago and some legislators say they're already having issues with County Executive Frank White.

“We're asked to fund things that we don't have information on,” Manny Abarca IV, who represents the county’s first district, told Up To Date on Wednesday.

Abarca serves as the budget chair and said he can’t do his job when White’s office refuses to provide the legislature with the information members need to make decisions.

“I think this is the way the county has operated in the past — keep people in the dark,” he said.

Up To Date invited White to come on the show but he did not respond in time.

In a written statement sent by his staff after the show, White said he’s never been contacted by legislators about receiving insufficient information.

“My office remains committed to working with Mr. Abarca and other legislators, however, we will not engage in public in-fighting, character attacks, or political horse-trading,” the statement read.

He also said he has a meeting scheduled with Abarca for later this week.

County Legislator Manny Abarca joined Up To Date to talk about his desire for more transparency and communication from Executive Frank White.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Claudia Brancart is an Up To Date producer for KCUR 89.3. She graduated from Pitzer College in Los Angeles where she majored in World Literature and Studio Art. You can reach her at claudiab@kcur.org.
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