June 10, 2020

I’m pleased County Executive Frank White is finally supporting a plan for disbursing CARES Act funding to the municipalities.

Theresa Galvin
Chairman – 6th District

This approach was originally supported by me and our Budget Chair, Crystal Williams, when first learning about the appropriation. We also support the inclusion of Fire Protection Districts in these allocations. We should do what’s best for our constituents and this will give municipalities the opportunity to put the money in the hands of the people in need and expedite resolutions for our constituents. It is disappointing that we had to learn about this, as we do with so many other issues with Frank, via press release. I have a cell phone, office phone, and email, so reaching me isn’t difficult. We can do better.

PPE has already been distributed to all municipalities in Jackson County. Blue Springs has been allocated $100,000 and Grain Valley has been allocated $10,000 respectively based on their requested needs. Raytown has a request for $150,000 and Lone Jack’s request is $5,000. These amounts are based on the city’s determination of their COVID-19 related needs.

At the time the County Executive announced the Joe Runions act via a press release, it was unknown where the $10 million was coming from as the county had not yet received the CARES Act funds nor was even aware how much we were going to receive. Now that the funds have been received, the executive has introduced many ordinances appropriating funding. As the Legislature is relying on a plan from the County Executive in which we can provide oversight of, I am unsure why he has not yet introduced a funding recommendation for Harvesters. To be clear, the Legislature lacks independent authority to appropriate money.

As the County Executive has stated on several occasions, COVID-19 knows no boundaries. Presently, there is a committee to address regional contact tracing which would include neighboring counties across the state line. Fully funding both Jackson County and Kansas City health departments before we had all of the information on this partnership does not make sense as there might have been a possibility to pool our resources and work as one saving Jackson County dollars.

The Legislature has provided appropriate funding for both the Jackson County Health Department and the Kansas City Health Department based on the agreed process with the County Executive. To imply the Legislature is not supportive of the health departments is absolutely ludacris.

As for the “volunteer advisors”, my initial concern was Jackson County as a whole was not represented. Other than that, I was fine until I learned they had planned on hiring two consultants to help with community outreach at a price tag of $10,000 per month each for six months. There aren’t a lot of county associates that make $10,000 per month. That appeared a reckless manner to spend taxpayer dollars and made me very uncomfortable.

Legislator Tarwater, Vice Chairman of the Legislature, introduced an ordinance for hazard pay for our frontline associates and I introduced an ordinance for a portion of a request for Truman Medical Center. I was told the County Executive would not approve this ordinance. When I asked Frank why, he said he didn’t like the way we went about it, we are excluding the administration, we are trying to cut them out, we don’t want them involved and there isn’t enough respect for the administration. Frank also said they needed more clarification and there was no vetting. TMC had four meetings outlining their request, the administration attended every meeting and I spoke with the administration before initiating funding for TMC. I really don’t know what more could have been done.

As Legislators it is our responsibility to be good stewards of your tax dollars. You have entrusted us with that task, and we take that role serious. It is a shame that egos are getting in the way of the greater good of the people of Jackson County. Moving forward I would strongly encourage the County Executive to communicate with myself and the Legislature directly as opposed to governing by public statement.Elected officials publicly attacking each other is not acceptable.

As always, my door is open to my constituents and colleagues.

Theresa Cass Galvin

Frank White’s Announcement