Jackson County legislators have voted to express their frustration with how the county’s finances are being run.
On Monday they passed a resolution expressing no confidence in Director of Finance and Purchasing Bob Crutsinger, saying it’s less about him than about getting financial information from the administration of County Executive Frank White Jr.
“This is not personal. This is not a public slap fight with the administration. This is just us stating a concern that we have,” said Legislature Chair Theresa Cass Galvin, R-Lee’s Summit.
The vote was 5-1. The yes votes were from Galvin; Tony Miller, D-Lee’s Summit; Crystal Williams, D-Kansas City; Ronald Finley, D-Kansas City; and Dan Tarwater, D-Kansas City. Jalen Anderson, D-Blue Springs, voted no. Three legislators abstained: Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs, Charlie Franklin, D-Independence, and Scott Burnett, D-Kansas City.
Legislators said they have made their concerns clear to White but have gotten no substantial response.
White was not at Monday’s meeting.
Williams mentioned “the number of errors that we have coming before us” consistently over the last year and much frustration “with getting what we need out of finance in a timely manner.” She called these “significant problems.”
“It seems almost intractable,” Williams said.
Franklin said he agrees there’s a problem and that a change is needed, but he questioned the need for going so far as a no-confidence vote that singles out Crutsinger.
But Galvin answered that she has been taking her concerns to White for a year.
“He is the one that has the power to hire and fire,” Galvin said. “We don’t have that power, so this is just expressing our concern because nothing was done when I went to him.”
Miller said this is something officials might want to take up if they address changes to the County Charter. Perhaps, he said, a department head could be removed with a unanimous vote of the Legislature, or maybe with seven of the nine votes.
“We shouldn’t just have to sit and do nothing while the place burns,” Miller said. “Because that’s what happened during the whole assessment mess, and if that’s what’s happening here we’re in the same spot.”
The resolution legislators passed says the county “is currently undergoing an audit by the Missouri State Auditor and the County has been directed to exercise increased controls over its financial operations” but that “Mr. Crutsinger continues to disregard recommendations of the Missouri State Auditor regarding transfers and backdating of data.” It says the county is getting an influx of federal money under the CARES Act and that it “needs accurate and timely reporting and communication regarding financial financial information to all County officials” but that “the Legislature has concerns with Mr. Crutsinger’s leadership, decision-making, and communication regarding these important issues the County is now facing.”
County Administrator Troy Schulte told legislators that the administration is hiring an outside firm to keep track of the county’s $122.67 million in federal COVID-19 money under the CARES Act, which he said Washington will demand be accounted for closely.
Anderson, the lone no vote, suggested legislators wait and investigate the Crutsinger issue further, but he also acknowledged their frustration and why they think they need to act.
“I can understand it,” he said. “I can understand it.”