Jackson County Executive Race: White holds onto Charter powers; Merryman emphasizes schools, jails, trails

Jackson County Executive Race

 

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By Kathy Feist and Samuel Ast

Frank White, Jr.  

Frank White, age 67, is a hometown hero who played for the Kansas City Royals from 1973 to 1990. He ran for Jackson County Legislature in 2014 and won, In 2016 he was appointed executive director by the legislature after Mike Sanders resigned amidst charges of mishandling funds and wire fraud.

Here’s where he stands on some of the issues:

Criminal Justice System – White says he’s invested $5 million over 18 months into facility improvements, increased corrections officers’ pay, improved training for corrections officers and convened a Jail Task Force.

Charter Amendments – White believes the proposed county Charter Amendments which take away the county executor’s control of the jail system and the drug tax program COMBAT is a way for the Jackson County legislature to run the administrative office. White vetoed the original bill which was passed by the legislature because his defense team found it unlawful. The Charter Amendments go up for public vote in November.  

 

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Matthew Merryman 

Matthew Merryman, is a 38-year-old environmental attorney and former public defender for the state of Missouri. His format is to unite all communities in Jackson County and bringing civility to the Executive Office.

Transparency – Merryman says he would  work to make county government more transparent and accountable to county residents.

Judicial System – Merryman believes having two smaller facilities to serve the two County Courthouses (Independence and Kansas City) with separate female annexes would benefit those detained and the community as a whole. The two-center solution would allow for manageable populations and the effective delivery of essential services to address mental health, anger management, substance abuse, chronic homelessness, and employment loss.

Schools – Merryman would like to make schools safe and successful countywide by developing a mentor program that teaches resume writing and job skills to high schoolers and  that teams up with the various chambers of commerce and business organizations throughout the county to push high schoolers into summer jobs.

Trails Programs – Merryman would push for greater expansion and connectivity of the county’s trails programs and develop a regional green transportation strategy.

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