Should the Douglas County Commission have 5 members? Your chance to sound off

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Douglas County on Thursday will host a community listening session on the possibility of moving from three county commissioners to five.


County Clerk Jamie Shew will start the event with a presentation about the process of moving to a five-member commission, which would require an election. Then commissioners will take comments from community members.

Some people have expressed concerns about a lack of representation of rural Douglas County residents, particularly after the 2020 election. Commissioners Shannon Portillo and Shannon Reid joined Commissioner Patrick Kelly; all three are Lawrence residents.

For comparison, the Lawrence and Eudora city commissions have five members and the Lawrence school board has seven. The Baldwin City Council has an elected mayor and five council members.

Douglas County’s population of roughly 120,000 falls between Wyandotte County’s ~165,000 and Leavenworth County’s ~82,000. Wyandotte’s Unified Government — representing the county and Kansas City — has 11 members; the Leavenworth County Commission has five.

The event will be held via Zoom starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9. There will be staff on hand at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., if members of the public wish to participate in person.

The listening session will Join the Zoom meeting by visiting this link.

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