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Jackson County Voters Will Get Chance To Approve Charter Changes At Least For Now

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3

Jackson County legislators Monday overrode a veto by County Executive Frank White of sweeping changes proposed for  the county charter.

It was a six-to-three vote with the same old discussion and the same old division on the nine-member legislature.

Legislator Greg Grounds has been leading the charter change fight for a year. His argument was the same as it has been for months. He said lawmakers were not voting in favor of term limits or pay raises, two of the most contentious issues, but rather to let voters have their say. "You vote to allow it to be on the ballot," he told his colleagues.

Legislator Crystal Williams voted to sustain the veto. She agreed with White that voters may be forced to approve changes they may not agree with. For example, someone may want the sheriff to run the jail but may oppose a pay raise for him. With the current ballot language a voter has to say yes to both or no to both. "The voter gets to look at a clump of questions," Williams said.

So what happens next?

White wouldn't say whether he would sue to block the ballot questions or run a campaign against them. "It’s on the ballot as we talk right now, so we’ll just have to see what the next steps are from there.”

Grounds says he doesn't think there is an appetite for another lawsuit or a vigorous campagin. "I would be surprised given the number of issues out there that are soaking up money for other campaigns."

Sam Zeff is KCUR's metro reporter. Follow him on Twitter @SamZeff

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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