John R. Gibson (1925- ) Papers (KC0008)
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 members were: Richard H. Brown, Clem W. Fairchild, Harold L. Fridkin, James E. Gardner, John R. Gibson, Jerry Irving, Harry B. Kies, Mrs. Robert Popalisky, Paul R. Shy, Robert Lucien Sweeny, L.M. Thorton Jr., Donald H. Tranin, Thomas A. Webster, and James R. Willard.
The deliberations of the Commission began in late January, 1970. At that time committee assignments were made, and a number of task forces were established to study specific aspects of the county government. John R. Gibson was the chairman of the Drafting Committee charged with providing working drafts of the charter for the Commission to consider. However, it was decided early in the drafting that the time limits under which the work was required to be done determined that the committee could not function effectively and therefore the drafts were “roughed out” by individuals, and the discussions and decisions were made by the Committee as a whole. The principal authors of the drafts were John Gibson, Richard Brown, and James R. Willard, with other members of the Commission contributing their expertise and ideas.
The Commission met 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, for which there are written transcripts. All meetings of the Commission were open to the public, and dozens of public hearings were held all over the county. The Commission interviewed more than 35 experts on county and local government, as well as current and former elected officials of Jackson County and many other interested local citizens. Written copies of the comments made during some of these interviews are included. Also included are papers written by University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School students studying metropolitan governments.
The campaign for the passage of the proposed charter extended from the official presentation of the document to the presiding Judge of the Jackson County Circuit Court on September 11, 1970, to the approval of the measure by the public on November 3, 1970. The fourteen members of the Commission actively participated with other supporters of the proposed charter in presenting the issue to the public.
The Charter Transition Commission, a body separate from the Charter Commission, was appointed by the Jackson County Court February 22, 1971, to advise and assist in the transition from the old court form of government to the new charter form of government for the county. The members of the Transition Commission were: Owen W. Anglum III, James G. Baker, Richard H. Brown, Dr. Girard T. Bryant, Carl A. Bua, Mrs. Alberta Caquelard, Mrs. Joanne D. Collins, Phillip B. Curls, Abie Dankins, John A. Egan Jr., C. Adam Fischer, Tom V. Foraer, Charles Franklin, Harry E. Gallagher Jr., Jack E. Gant, John R. Gibson, Mrs. Stanley R. Grant, Raymond W. Hanna, D.O., Mrs. Julia H. Hill, Mrs. Alice E. Homeyer, John K. Keitt, Bruce R. Kent, Mrs. Marilyn H. Kenton, Frank W. Koger, Mrs. Rosemary S. Lowe, Mrs. Wilma Major, Mrs. Ina M. Maness, Robert H. Markey, Cleo Muller, Harlan M. Murry, James B. Nutter, Mrs. Sally Oppenheimer, Tom Patton, William C. Phelps, Mrs. Nina M. Popalisky, Mrs. Gail Raley, Edward L. Scheufler, A.B. Schreier Jr., W. Ferrell Shuck, Paul Smith, Miss Roberta Thompson, Mrs. Robie R. Tyler, Alvin E. Waits, Barry D. Wilkinson, and James F. Wolfe.
The Commission met as a whole on a few occasions, but for the most part activity and decisions of the Commission were accomplished by committees that members formed to consider and advise on specific areas of Jackson County government operations.
The final reports of the Transition Commission were completed and filed prior to the assumption of the Home Rule Charter government for Jackson County, Missouri, on January 1, 1973.
The papers contain correspondence, reports, research materials, drafts, news articles and other data related to the writing, passage by public vote, and planned implementation of the 1970 Jackson County Charter, with particular emphasis upon the involvement of John R. Gibson, a principal contributor to these events.
The papers are divided into three parts: materials relative to the operation and work of researching and drafting the charter by the Charter Commission; campaign for approval of the proposed charter by public vote; and the activities of the Jackson County Charter Transition Commission appointed to advise and assist in the transition to the new charter form of government for Jackson County, Missouri. 1970-1972.
See also Jackson County Charter Commission Records (KC0007)
© State Historical Society of Missouri
Monday, February 07, 2011
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