Pubdate: Tue, 29 Jan 2008
Source: Kansas City Star (MO)
Copyright: 2008 The Kansas City Star
Author: Kevin Murphy, The Kansas City Star


Jackson County is creating a director's job and a new commission to 
make its COMBAT anti-drug program more effective and organized.

The County Legislature approved the changes Monday upon the advice of 
a special committee that recently studied COMBAT, which is funded 
from a quarter-cent sales tax that raises $14 million to $18 million annually.

Money is used for drug prevention programs and to prosecute, treat 
and incarcerate drug offenders.  Various agencies apply for funding, 
but the advisory committee found much confusion over who is in 
charge, because money goes for so many purposes.

County Executive Mike Sanders said a director "would bring all the 
disparate elements of the drug program under one umbrella." Sanders 
would appoint the director.

COMBAT has pared staff in the past year, and Jim Nunnelly, the 
longtime program administrator, plans to retire late this year.

Sanders said COMBAT would cost less to administer under a new 
director than it did as previously staffed. A salary has not been set.

Sanders also supported the review committee's proposal to replace the 
existing seven-member COMBAT commission with a nine-member commission 
that represented the Legislature's six districts.

Three members would be appointed at-large, with backgrounds in law, 
substance abuse and public health, respectively.

Members would each get $200 per meeting up to a maximum of $1,200 and 
meet at least quarterly. The commission would determine goals and 
recommend who gets funded.

Sanders said appointment of a director and commission would take at 
least until midyear. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake