Jackson County appears headed toward an extensive review by the state auditor.
County Executive Frank White Jr. attended Monday meeting of the County Legislature and renewed his request from a month ago that legislators formally make that request.
He said taxpayers’ money is being well managed and well spent but said an audit makes sense.
“And if issues are discovered, it is our duty to fix those issues,” he said.
White and the Legislature have been in conflict for months over control of various county funds, and legislators have said repeatedly White’s office has skirted the rules that require that large expenditures – $10,000 or more – get legislative approval. The two sides are in court over control of the $23 million-a-year Combat anti-drug fund.
Legislator Greg Grounds, R-Blue Springs, asked that a resolution requesting the state auditor to step in be drawn up, and Chair Scott Burnett, D-Kansas City, said that’s likely to happen in the coming days.
Legislator Crystal Williams, D-Kansas City, said she continues to support the idea but pressed White on whether than means the whole county or just the Legislature.
“If we’re going to do this, it’s got to be countywide,” she told White, and she referred to media reports that White wanted a narrower review.
White said he entirely agrees with Williams on that point, and he went a step further to address comments attributed to himself and others. White told Williams that if it’s not from him, it’s a lie.
So, Williams responded, does that mean you’re not looking for someone to run against me later this year?
“It’s no one from my office,” he said. He said some people are looking for someone to run against him too – filing for county offices opens Feb. 27 – and suggested to Williams that they are in the same boat.
Williams acknowledged that, too, and pointed out that this is just the second week of February “and this crap has already started.”
“I can’t police the whole county,” White said.
Legislators held a closed session Monday and then declined to follow through with earlier plans to override White’s veto of their transfer of $2.18 million in contingency funds. That issue is tied to other recent White vetoes, all of which legislators have overridden
White had asked that they hold off this time and see what lawyers find as they research the issue. So legislators took no action but had little to say about their change of heart.
“Really the only reason is for ongoing strategic reasons,” said Vice Chair Alfred Jordan, D-Kansas City.