Jackson County legislators on Monday held off on overriding the latest veto by County Executive Frank White Jr. They said they were willing to go along with White’s suggestion to allow time for attorneys to look into the matter more closely.
“I think we remain open to listening to what the arguments are,” said Legislator Tony Miller, D-Lee’s Summit.
Legislators voted last week to move $2.18 million to contingency funds. They say that money is meant in part for corrections officers at the jail, including some positions that are unfilled. They don’t want White spending that money on his own staff, where legislators voted to eliminate some positions with the beginning of the new year.
They say putting the money in a contingency fund gives them a better means of tracking spending, including money White’s office might be transferring.
“What we’re saying is please stop spending the money without coming to the people,” said Legislator Dan Tarwater, D-Kansas City.
White and legislators have been an impasse over this and related issues since late 2017. He has called several of their ordinances illegal and refused to recognize them. So far, they have overridden each veto but agreed Monday to hold off a week on the latest one.
Earlier this month they sued White over his refusal to comply with their vote to transfer the Combat anti-drug/anti-violence program to the county prosecutor’s office. A judge has issued an initial order siding with legislators, and Combat is now in the prosecutor’s hands.
Legislators have said they could sue over a handful of related ordinances, vetoes and overrides, but Tarwater said they hope that a decision in the Combat lawsuit would settle all of that. White’s office has until Friday to file court papers in response to the lawsuit.