Community engagement and participation
We cannot serve our community without you. We heavily rely on community members to volunteer their time and talents for the good of our organization and community. Everyone has something to offer, whether it is casting a vote, serving on a BOCC-appointed board or commission, volunteering with a county program or attending a county event. Thank you for your engagement!
Moving forward through…
…continuously improving our election process
2022 was a very busy year for the Election Office, over and above the typical business of running elections.
In May, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld the state legislature’s newly redrawn district maps. As a result, the Election Office had to codify the new district lines, creating about 84 new precincts, renumbering 72 existing precincts and making sure voters knew exactly where to vote and what precinct they were in.
Also in 2022, the Election Office doubled its advance voting locations for the August primary and November general election from eight to 16 sites to give Johnson County voters more options and greater flexibility to cast their ballots.
In August, a momentous amount of work by the Election Office, county leadership, staff and the public in a very short period was required to recount the results of an amendment on the Aug. 2 primary election ballot. That work required approximately 150 people each day to sort and count more than 256,000 paper ballots in five days. A large group of those election workers came from our workforce…88 staff members from 14 departments.
…reviewing our charter for the next 10 years
The Johnson County Charter Commission is required to convene every 10 years to review Johnson County Government operations and can propose amendments and/or recommendations to the BOCC. Any proposed amendments must then be placed on the ballot at the next general election for Johnson County voters to accept or reject.
The group of 25 volunteers wrapped up the most recent charter review on Feb. 24, 2022, when Johnson County Charter Commission Chair Greg Musil presented the 2021 Charter Commission’s final report to the Board of County Commissioners. The presentation wrapped up nearly a year of meetings including two public hearings and other public feedback. In the final meetings, 15 total amendments were considered but none received the minimum number of commissioner votes required to be placed on the ballot. The Charter Commission also considered five proposed recommendations to the BOCC. None of the proposed recommendations received the minimum number of votes required to be forwarded to the BOCC.
…a cadre of dedicated volunteers
During 2022, more than 5,400 volunteers provided more than 827,000 volunteer service hours contributing to the continuity of Johnson County services. The independent sector recognizes the national value of each volunteer of $29.95 per hour. Using the independent sector’s rate, volunteers contributed nearly $25 million in service to the county in 2022.
Johnson County Government has more than 30 boards, commissions and task forces that reflect the community’s varied interests. Volunteers serve on appointed boards and commissions to help support, guide and oversee the county’s agencies and departments. Additionally, nine county departments and agencies utilize volunteers in various capacities, whether it’s helping vulnerable senior adults, assisting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, providing support to the 14 library branches, working on busy elections days, meeting the needs of victims in the criminal justice system, bridging the gap between correction clients and the community, providing educational programming in the community or helping with emergency management.
...coming together as a community
As the pandemic allowed for it, we were so pleased to be able to gather back in person for county events…some old favorites and a brand new one!
Former Chairman Ed Eilert delivered his final State of the County address on March 29, 2022 at the Overland Park Convention Center. 2022 marked the first time that event was held in person since 2019. The same occurred with 2022’s Veteran’s Day observance, held at the Lenexa National Guard Armory. The event honored all veterans from all Armed Forces for their military service.
The Garmin KC Air Show was another crowd-pleaser in 2022. Over Labor Day weekend, attendees at the New Century AirCenter were wowed by the talents of several performers including the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team and several other pilots and performers. (Save the date for the 2023 Garmin KC Air Show, Aug. 19 and 20, featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.)
Johnson County Government brought a new event to the community in 2022. The inaugural Juneteenth Observance event took place on Juneteenth (June 19) in the Johnson County Square in downtown Olathe. This community event featured storytellers, poets, musical performers and more. Ongoing engagements through the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center, Johnson County Library and within the community offered additional opportunities to learn more about Juneteenth, as well as the history of African Americans in the United States.