Cities in Eastern Jackson County explore shared services

In the fall of 2019, the cities of Independence, Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs, Missouri, adopted by resolution an agreement to advance collaborative strategies across the three cities. With assistance from MARC, the cities are exploring opportunities to enhance public services, improve customer service and support employees.

The three cities have well-established relationships among both professional staff and their governing bodies. This initiative will not only improve city services in Eastern Jackson County, it will also serve as a blue print for other cities throughout the metro that want to expand shared services partnerships across municipal boundaries.

Currently, the three cities are working together on projects to improve mental health co-responder services for police, professional development for employees including leadership exchanges, and exit interviews. The cities are working on a cooperative purchase for an ethics, safety and fraud hotline and case management vendor. This project will improve whistleblower reporting in the cities, and early research indicates that the cities will save money and reduce overhead costs. The Kansas City Regional Purchasing Cooperative (KCRPC) is managing the bid on behalf of the three cities, so the contract will be available to other jurisdictions in the region.

MARC is helping the cities with professional development opportunities and enhanced exit interviews. As part of a three-year agreement, the cities will participate in satellite Government Training Institute courses focused on supervision and customer service. City clerks are collaborating on governance training for elected officials, city staff, and appointees to volunteer boards and commissions. In a second three-year agreement, MARC is acting as a third-party to administer employee exit interviews for Blue Springs and Independence. Lee’s Summit conducts exit interviews in house but may share data and reports to improve benchmarking.

While these initial opportunities for collaboration will enhance city services, they are also laying a foundation for future collaboration. Going forward, the cities will explore joint salary surveys, contracted legal services, shared contracts for video storage and new employee recruitment strategies.

For more information, please contact Lauren Palmer, local government services program director, at lpalmer@marc.org.