County charter

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Most Missouri counties are governed by an elected three-person county commission. In these counties, other officials also are elected. Their salaries are set by a county salary commission.

Some counties, including Cape Girardeau, are first-class counties based on their population and assessed valuation. These counties have the option of adopting, with voter approval, a charter form of government. Only a handful of Missouri's first-class counties have switched to charter government. Those that have switched have replaced their three-person commissions with elected governing boards of several members. Some have elected county executives, and some have hired county administrators.

Whether Cape Girardeau County should adopt a charter form of government is an issue being studied. As a starting point, the League of Women Voters of Southeast Missouri, at the request of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, has been researching frequently asked questions about county charter government. The league will make a presentation on its county-charter study at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Cape Girardeau Public Library. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about charter government and the process to move in that direction, if there is sufficient interest.

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