She says the Legislature’s new chairman Henry Rizzo, D-Kansas City, made the switch without even consulting with her. Her reaction?


“Not really upset, but disappointed in the way it went down,” Garza Ruiz said Monday.

It’s an annual shuffle, but one Jackson County legislator isn’t happy about it.

When new committee chairs were announced last week, Legislator Theresa Garza Ruiz, D-Blue Springs, found herself out as chair of the County Legislature’s Justice and Law Committee.

Garza Ruiz, who is entering the final year of her first four-year term on the Legislature, has been chair of that committee for three years, and she says that’s where her experience and expertise help most.

She has two degrees in criminal justice. The committee oversees funding for the Sheriff’s Department, the Corrections Department and the courts.

She says the Legislature’s new chairman Henry Rizzo, D-Kansas City, made the switch without even consulting with her.

Her reaction?

“Not really upset, but disappointed in the way it went down,” Garza Ruiz said Monday.

Rizzo said that committee had been created with Garza Ruiz in mind with the understanding that the chairmanship would rotate. He has appointed Legislator James Tindall, D-Kansas City, to the chairmanship.

“It’s without merit,” Rizzo said of Garza Ruiz’s complaint. “It’s just a standard committee swap.”

Garza Ruiz is now chair of the Health and Environment Committee, which she says is far less active and meaningful than Justice and Law.

Other committee chairs:
Intergovernmental Affairs – Greg Grounds, R-Blue Springs.
Public Works – Bob Spence, R-Lee’s Summit.
Budget – Dennis Waits, D-Independence.
Rules – Waits.
Anti-Drug – Dan Tarwater, D-Kansas City. Tarwater also is vice chairman of the Legislature.
Land Use – Fred Arbanas, D-Lee’s Summit.
Finance and Audit – Scott Burnett, D-Kansas City.