Voters in Clay County will decide Tuesday whether they should consider ways to reshape and reform county government.
Proposition A will ask voters whether they want to move toward adopting a county constitution, or county charter, form of government.
If voters approve the proposition, the Circuit Court will appoint a bipartisan committee to draft a proposed charter that would go before voters at a later election.
Adopting a county charter could give Clay County home rule and the ability to pass some laws county officials now must ask the state legislature to pass for them.
Eastern Commissioner Katee Porter said charter government is needed to ensure the county is managed professionally.
"We have just many negative things that have gone on and have continued to have gone on in the county," Porter said. "We need a more efficient and a more accountable form of government than the one we currently have."
County Collector Lydia McEvoy said she opposes the idea because adopting home rule may potentially raise taxes and other county expenses. If approved, charter government would unnecessarily add another layer of bureaucracy to county government, she said, and voters might later be asked to decide whether to turn some elected offices into appointed positions.
"It takes away the people's rights to directly vote for their officeholders," McEvoy said.
If the measure on Tuesday is approved, the county's circuit court judges would appoint a 14-member, unpaid constitutional commission to draft a county constitution. The commission of seven Democrats and seven Republicans would have one year to draft a constitution for voters to approve.
Among other things, the constitutional commission could propose expanding the three-member County Commission or replace some elected officials with hired professionals.
"The biggest flaw in our current form of government is that every elected office serves as its own little country, and that country can pretty much do whatever they want to do," Porter said.
Jackson County has operated under a home rule charter since 1973.