Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. has vetoed a second ordinance recently passed by the County Legislature. It’s related to another ordinance on which legislators this week overrode another veto.
In a press release, White’s office said the ordinance would “give the Legislature the most limitless control over taxpayer dollars of any legislative body in the State of Missouri,” said it could hurt the county’s credit rating and reiterated the contention of County Counselor Stephen Nixon that the ordinance conflicts with state law.
White and several legislators have been at odds for about a year over spending reserve funds. Legislators put more reserve spending into the 2017 budget than White wanted, but this year – especially as needed repairs to the County Detention Center have come to light – legislators have questioned how White’s office is moving funds around and tracking spending.
Last month, legislators voted to add three staff members answerable to them – one for the budget, one for special projects and one public liaison. White vetoed that, citing a cost that he put at more than $500,000. Legislators voted 7-1 this week to override that veto.
A few days after they approved first ordinance, legislators turned to a second one, giving themselves the power to move money within different county funds with a two-thirds vote, that is, six of the nine legislators.
In a 120-page veto message released Thursday, White said that wrongly grants the Legislature “unitary authority to transfer any unencumbered county funds … without the involvement or recommendation of the County’s budget officer,” who reports to the executive.
Legislators adopted that second ordinance on a 7-2 vote, which is one more than would be needed for them to override Thursday’s veto. That could come up Monday when they meet in Independence.
Also next week, White is to propose the 2018 county budget.