Jackson County Charter Commission Records (KC0007)
In October 1969, 59,900 names on petitions were submitted to the Jackson County Board of Election Commissioners calling for the establishment of a commission to draft a Home Rule document for the government of Jackson County, Missouri. On January 27, 1970, the Jackson County Circuit Court en banc and the Probate Judges, named a fourteen-member commission to write a new charter. The Commission consisted of five lawyers, four businessmen, two educators, a union official, a retired person, and a housewife. With a bipartisan membership of seven Republicans and seven Democrats, the Commission considered itself a body independent from the Jackson County government.
Deliberations began in late January 1970, with the Commission meeting at least once weekly, and sometimes two or three times weekly during most stages of the preparation of the Charter. Formal working meetings occurred during June, July, and August of 1970. All meetings of the Commission were open to the public. Additionally, dozens of public hearings were held all over the county, and eleven task forces involving over two hundred citizens were formed to study all areas of county government activity and issues. The Commission interviewed more than thirty-five experts on county and local government, current and former elected officials of Jackson County, and many other interested local citizens.
The work of the Commission was completed September 11, 1970, and submitted to the presiding Judge of the Jackson County Circuit Court. The successful public vote approving the proposed Charter was held November 3, 1970.
James R. Willard, at the time of his appointment to the Commission, had been active in Republican politics and was Ninth Ward Committeeman. He was a member of a bipartisan Missouri House redistricting commission in 1966. The other members of the Commission were: Richard H. Brown, Clem W. Fairchild, Harold L. Fridkin, James E. Gardner, John R. Gibson, Jerry Irving, Harry B. Kies, Mrs. J. Robert Popalisky, Paul R. Shy, Robert Lucien Sweeny, L.M. Thornton Jr., Donald H. Tranin, and Thomas Webster.
Contained within the records are miscellaneous news releases and articles concerning the establishment and appointment of the Commission; an index of the major topics of the draft proposal, as discussed during the formal meetings of the Commission; and the transcripts of the discussions at the nine formal meetings held between June 22 and August 25, 1970. Also included is the final proposed Charter as published and submitted for public vote on November 3, 1970. 1968-1970.
See also John R. Gibson (1925- ) Papers (KC0008)
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Monday, February 07, 2011
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