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OLATHE, Kan. — On Wednesday, the Johnson County Charter Commission voted to reject four proposed amendments to the county Home Rule Charter

Since March, the 25-member commission has been meeting to review and vote on potential changes to the charter.

If a proposal received at least nine votes of support from the commission, it progresses on to a second hearing. A proposal must have at least 13 votes of support in the second hearing to be placed on the general election ballot in November.

On Wednesday, the commission began the final round of voting for potential amendments. Here is a look at what was reviewed on Wednesday: 

Parisian vs nonpartisan election of the sheriff 

After legal review it was determined that per state statute, the Charter Commission does not have the legal authority to change the election status of the county sheriff from a partisan to a nonpartisan elected position. The original proposal was withdrawn by the author. 

BOCC vacancies 

Following a 9-14 vote, a proposal requiring all vacancies on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to be filled at the next scheduled election failed.

Health and Safety Advisory Council

A proposal for the BOCC to create a Health and Safety Advisory Council failed 7-16. The proposed advisory council would have been tasked with providing strategic guidance when the BOCC acts as the Board of Health. 

Dozens of people showed up to the charter meeting Wednesday in opposition to the establishment of a health advisory board.

County Manager appointments 

A proposal allowing the County Manager to appoint or hire, with simple majority approval of the BOCC, the non-elected director of each department whose principal officer reports to the County Manager failed in a 7-16 vote of the commission. The proposal would have allowed the County Manager to suspend or dismiss all non-elected directors, except as provided by law or this Charter.

BOCC salary 

The commission reviewed a proposal to revise Section 2.05 of the charter relating to compensation for county commissioners. The proposal would replace existing language to read:

 “Each Commissioner and the Chair shall be offered an annual salary set at the 2021 salary amount, adjusted annually at the lesser rate of (a) two percent (2%); (b) the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the trailing 12 months; or (c) the average budgeted increase percentage for all county employees. The first adjustment shall occur in January 2023 for the 2023 year. They shall be offered employee benefits commensurate with those offered to County management employees.” 

That proposal failed 11-12.

The commission will review the remaining proposals at the next regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 10 at 4 p.m. at the BEST Conference Center on the KU Edwards campus.

Remaining agenda items include proposals to establish the position of a Johnson County unincorporated trustee; adjust the election term cycles of county commissioners; and address the classification of the county sheriff and district attorney.