OBSERVER CORPS PROFILE
Eileen Marshall, Chair
What the LWVJoCo Observer Corps does
Observations are conducted by 18 League volunteers either singly or in teams who regularly attend, observe, and report on the meetings of 11 different governing bodies in Johnson County. Observer reports are then included in the monthly LWVJoCo newsletter THE VOTER.
Observer Corps Chair Eileen Marshall joined the Johnson County League of Women Voters after the 2016 election. She sees the program as offering members an opportunity to not only watch local elected and appointed officials in action, but also to demonstrate the League’s presence and interest in local government.
What They Observe
League member Eileen Marshall has overseen the management and training of LWVJoCo Observers since 2019. As individuals or in teams, the 18 current Observers watch the following groups:
Board of County Commissioners
City Councils: Leavenworth
JoCo Mental Health Advisory Board
School Boards: Shawnee Mission School District
Blue Valley School District
Shawnee Community College
Olathe School District
Other: Library Board
Parks & Recreation
More Observers Needed
Elaine reports that 3-5 new observers are needed to watch the Overland Park City Council, the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees and the Shawnee City Council. Although there are no formal training sessions, Observers are equipped with guidelines regarding what information to include in observation reports.
How the Observer Corps Makes an Impact
Legislative bodies pay attention to who is watching. As a result of Observer reporting the Johnson County Charter Commission in 2021 chose not to adopt a proposal to change the County Charter and make local races partisan.
“Real Time Reporting”
Elaine notes that establishing “real time reporting” is a program goal. Through it LWVJoCo membership could be notified when immediate individual advocacy is needed with respect to an issue being considered by a board or legislative body.
If you are interested in learning more about the program and/or volunteering as an Observer email ObserverCorps@lwvjoco.org.