Letter from leadership

Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert and County Manager Penny Postoak Ferguson.

Ed Eilert Chairman, Board of County Commissioners and Penny Postoak Ferguson County Manager

2021 was a year of unprecedented challenges. Working side-by-side with our residents, cities, schools, chambers of commerce, health care systems and other important partners, we met these challenges because we are Stronger Together. Also in 2021, we celebrated achievements and milestones right alongside you.

Throughout this report, we will recap how we, together, addressed challenges and achieved successes in 2021. While you will receive much more information in the following pages, if we looked at 2021 in chronological order, some accomplishments help tell the story of what we achieved together. 

January: 2021 opened with a virtual celebration for the new Johnson County Courthouse, delivering a building that reflects the significance of the justice system in our society and will serve you for generations to come. 

February: Our board established a Charter Commission made up of community volunteers who would spend a year examining Johnson County’s operations and consider areas for improvement.

March: We approved the lease of a dedicated mass COVID-19 vaccination site, one of many tools utilized in 2021 to get vaccines into the arms of Johnson County residents.

April: County leadership was enhanced by the reappointment of David “Beau” Boisvert as Johnson County Appraiser and the appointment of Peg Trent to the role of Chief Counsel.

May: The board heard the County Manager’s proposed 2022 budget, which invests in critical areas of county government and those that align with the BOCC’s priorities and feedback from the annual Community Survey. (The BOCC adopted the budget in September with a .25 mill levy reduction.)

June: The Board adopted its strategic priorities for 2021 – 2022, focusing on progress on major projects, transit, vulnerable populations and innovative initiatives. 

July: Record crowds gathered for a once-in-a-lifetime air show in July at Johnson County’s New Century AirCenter, featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. 

August: Collaboration with residents and multiple departments led to a resolution to regulate the discharge of a firearm across property boundaries in Johnson County’s unincorporated area. 

September: We recognized the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 in a meaningful ceremony, with the backdrop of an American Flag display created by Olathe West High School students. 

October: A unanimous BOCC vote established Juneteenth, a day recognizing freedom for all, as a standard, fixed holiday for Johnson County Government. 

November: We recognized our community’s veterans in a virtual ceremony on Veterans Day. Later in the month, we launched a new and improved website (jocogov.org) focused on input from our community. 

December: As the year opened by celebrating the new courthouse, the year ended with celebrating the space created by the demolition of the former courthouse. In December, we cut the ribbon on the Johnson County Square, a green space in the heart of downtown Olathe, shaped from community feedback. 

We hope you feel as proud as we do of just this brief highlight of 2021 achievements and encourage you to learn more about these and others in this year’s annual report. It cannot be overstated that none of this would have been achieved by county elected officials, leadership and staff without you. Thank you for helping us be Stronger Together.