Human Relations Commission

A Human Relations Commission was formed in May of 1964 by motion of the Board of Aldermen. Chapter 15, Human Rights, of the Lee’s Summit Code of Ordinances was amended in October of 2011 and again in March of 2018 to update the commission.

The Human Relations Commission consists of eight citizen members and three community sector members, appointed by the mayor with the consent of the City Council, serving staggered terms of three-years each. The community sector members represent the business community sector, the faith community sector, and the educational community sector.

It is the mission of the commission to promote mutual understanding, respect, and inclusion among all diverse groups represented in Lee’s Summit through increased awareness and communication.     


  • Promote mutual understanding and respect among all diverse groups in the City and seek solutions to related problems concerning citizens of the City with the objective to provide an environment in which each citizen shall have the opportunity to grow to his or her maximum potential and be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Endeavor to eliminate prejudice among various groups in the City and to create harmonious relationships among citizens, groups and agencies within the City.
  • Encourage the cooperation of all community groups, both private and public, and work with civil rights organizations, community organizations, law enforcement agencies, school districts and other community educational institutions and other groups to:
  • Foster better human relations among the citizenry of Lee's Summit and within the surrounding communities when those relations will significantly impact the quality of life in Lee's Summit.
  • Collect and review data relating to patterns of discrimination, hate crimes, hate group activity and general issues of civil and human rights and community relations.
  • Facilitate the formation of local community groups to initiate and coordinate discussions between individuals or groups in order to lessen tensions and promote human relations understanding in the City.
  • Conduct studies and assemble pertinent data.
  • Serve as an advocate to prevent discrimination and bias and hate crimes.
  • Seek and enlist the cooperation, including financial assistance of private charitable, religious, labor, civic or benevolent organizations, for the purposes of this section.
  • Implement and coordinate programs that may be funded by City, County, State and Federal grants or other programs to effectuate the purposes and policy of this chapter.
  • Bring to the attention of the council issues and items that require city manager or council notice or action to resolve.
  • Advise and consult with the council on matters involving discrimination to assure effective compliance with nondiscriminatory policies and ordinances.
  • Study, advise and make other recommendations for legislation, policies, procedures and practices of the City and other public entities as are consistent with the purposes of this chapter.
  • Upon approval of the council, create advisory agencies, conciliation councils and task forces.
  • Issue such publications and such results of its investigations and research as in its judgment will tend to promote good will and minimize or eliminate discrimination because of race, religion, color, sex, age, disability, national origin or ancestry, or disabled or veteran status.
  • Prepare an annual report for the council concerning the commission's activities under the provisions of this division, with recommendations and pertinent comments.
  • Regularly advise the council, through distribution of agendas, minutes, memoranda, reports and other pertinent documents, of the items of business before the.commission, the ongoing status of such items, and the dispositions of such items 

Vanessa Hickman, Chairperson
Tony Meyer, Vice Chair
Debbie Brooks
Christy Engemann
Dr. Fel Begunu
Astra Garner
Kerrie Lindberg
Maria Morgan
Jennifer Novogoratz
Anne Wallace
Saadia Mahmood

Mayor Baird, Council Liaison

Department Liaison
Human Resources