Jackson County Detention Center | KCUR

Jackson County Detention Center

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County property owners should brace for a property tax hike when they get their December bill.

County legislators Wednesday voted 9-0 to roll back a property tax cut from several years ago.

The "intent of the Legislature" resolution had been kicked down the road twice in the past month as lawmakers and Jackson County Executive Frank White decided how to spend the additional $19 million a year.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Tuesday’s Democratic primary for Jackson County Executive pits incumbent Frank White against two challengers: Matthew Merryman and Jeremy Raines, both of Kansas City.

The next county executive will inherit a slew of issues that have roiled White’s tenure, which started when he was appointed in 2016. The main issue has been the overcrowded, aging Jackson County Detention Center.

Rachel Guthrie / Merryman4Jackson.com

Segment 1: Matthew Merryman wants to be the next Jackson County executive.

A former public defender and political newcomer from Kansas City is challenging incumbent Frank White for Jackson County executive. Today, he shared his reasons for running, and discussed his plans to address a crumbling county jail, keep guns out of schools and forge good relationships with county legislators.

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

Segment 1: Frank White's way of doing business may be greatest obstacle to winning primary.

The race to be the next Jackson County executive is garnering attention as incumbent Frank White continues to refuse invitations to public forums and interviews before the August 7 primary election. We reviewed the issues surrounding Mr. White, including building a new county jail and and the investigation of his finances by the Missouri attorney general.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County has hired one of the biggest providers of jail healthcare in the country to provide service at the downtown jail. However, the company has a history of being sued for poor care.

Over the past ten years, Advanced Correctional Healthcare (ACH) has been sued 108 times in 16 states, according to Justia.com which tracks federal cases online. Several of those lawsuits are in Missouri and Kansas.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Fewer than 20 people showed up to the first of two public meetings inviting community input on the embattled Jackson County jail, which has seen alleged sexual assault, inmate deaths, and bribery schemes.

Jann Coulson — a prison ministry volunteer who works with inmates at the jail — said that's because the public is frustrated to see elected officials trying to fix the jail "stomping over each other's feet."

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City police say a federal law spurred a rape investigation in late May at the Jackson County jail after two detainees were seen alone together.

It came up during a Kansas City council committee meeting Wednesday that the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) sparked the investigation.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, in a strongly worded letter to county legislators, called on them to move administration of the downtown jail from the county executive to the sheriff's office. In the letter, she said the jail is a "stubborn problem" and "it remains one of the most serious problems facing this County."

To help make her case she brought along three members of the county grand jury that wrote a scathing report on the jail, saying it was unsafe, filthy and fiscally mismanaged.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The resignation of Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp over a sex scandal has, rather unexpectedly, brought to light an issue in the office—a severe lack of diversity.

The office Sharp inherited in 2009 and left two weeks ago is overwhelmingly white and male.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Update, May 8 5:20 p.m.:

The Jackson County Legislature approved the proposed changes 6-3 Monday.

The changes will appear on the August primary ballot.

The original post continues below.

When Jackson County legislators convene Monday afternoon, they'll be taking the first step into determining their own future.

At that meeting, legislator Greg Grounds, who represents much of eastern Jackson County and is one of two Republicans in the county legislature, will introduce a controversial plan to change the county charter. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Nashville-based company that provides health and dental care for the 1,000 inmates at the Jackson County Detention Center has told the county it is pulling out of its three-year contract early.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How a redrawn border influences modern Mexican-American identity

When the U.S.-Mexico border moved at the end of the Mexican-American War, more than 100,000 Mexicans suddenly found themselves living on U.S. territory. Today, we considered how this history, more than 100 years in the making, impacts modern race relations.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 4:40 p.m. to include comments from a spokewoman for Frank White and from Scott Burnett, the chairman of the Jackson County Legislature.

Jackson County Executive Frank White says an ordinance transferring control of the COMBAT anti-drug tax to the Jackson County prosecutor has sown chaos among county employees, and White has asked a judge to declare it illegal.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Several Jackson County legislators called for new leadership at the troubled downtown jail on Tuesday. It only took until Friday to get their wish.

Jackson County Corrections Director Joe Piccinini resigned, County Executive Frank White said at a news conference Friday. And pressure from the county legislature was not a factor, White said.