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Voters Approve Three Out of Seven Changes To Jackson County Charter

Jackson County Executive Frank White stands at a podium with the Jackson County seal on the wall behind him and to the right and an unidentified woman to the left.
KCUR 89.3 file photo
Jackson County Executive Frank White was re-elected Tuesday.

Voters who waded through a maze of questions said 'yes' to several changes to the charter for Jackson County, Missouri, though many others didn't pass.

The seven questions on Tuesday’s ballot ranged from ethics changes to term limits for elected officials, and sometimes there were multiple issues per question. But only Questions 3, 4, and 5 were successful, giving the country sheriff jurisdiction over the detention center and the county prosecutor authority over COMBAT (the anti-drug/anti-crime sales tax), as well as keeping the county counselor from filing lawsuits involving the legislature.

Jackson County Executive Frank White, who also was re-elected in the midterm, has been clear that voters wouldn’t have the final say, as he plans on naming a charter change task force next year. Sheriff Darryl Forte was also elected after being appointed last year.

Here's how voters weighed in on each question (the first number is the YES vote percentage and the second is NO):

Question 1: Failed (49.5 percent to 50.5 percent)

It would have: 

  • Imposed term limits for county legislature
  • Took away executive’s ability to use line-item veto
  • Changed what forces a member of the legislature to resign his/her seat
  • Boosted legislature’s salaries by about $15,000 annually
  • Gives legislature ability to turn down an executive’s appointee
  • Gives legislature power to amend budget

Question 2: Failed (49.1 percent to 50.9 percent)

It would have: 

  • Imposed term limits for county executive
  • Spelled out what would force an executive to resign his/her seat
  • Restricted executive’s ability to “employ” experts and consultants
  • Required executive to tell legislature about tax and assessment errors
  • Boosted executive’s salary by about $13,500 annually

Question 3: Passed (62.2 percent to 37.8 percent)

  • Imposes term limits for county sheriff
  • Spells out what would force a sheriff to resign his/her office
  • Gives sheriff jurisdiction over county detention center
  • Gives sheriff ability to set up “limited” contracts to support the office
  • Boosts sheriff’s salary by about $55,000 annually

Question 4: Passed (55.6 percent to 44.4 percent)

  • Imposes term limits for county prosecutor
  • Spells out what would force a county prosecutor to resign
  • Gives county prosecutor authority over anti-drug/anti-crime sales tax
  • Grants county prosecutor “sole authority” to bring cases to court
  • Boosts county prosecutor’s salary by about $15,000 annually

Question 5: Passed (53.4 percent to 46.6 percent)

  • Removes the county counselor’s ability to obtain legal services without legislature’s approval
  • Keeps county counselor from filing lawsuits involving the legislature

Question 6: Failed (46.3 percent to 53.7 percent)

It would have: 

  • Required anyone appointed for a county judgeship to have three years of experience on a municipal court bench

Question 7: Failed (46.2 percent to 53.8 percent)

It would have:

  • Blocked any current elected official (federal, state or municipal) from running for a county office.

This story has been corrected to reflect the Jackson County and Kansas City Board of Election Results.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson is a reporter at KCUR 89.3 and part of the public radio collaborative Sharing America, covering the intersection of race, identity and culture. This initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, includes reporters in Kansas City, St. Louis, Hartford, Connecticut and Portland, Oregon.

Michelle is a reporter covering race, identity and culture and is an assistant talk show producer.
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