Sunday, December 10, 2017

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE



Santa and two of his elves were on hand to paint rocks and greet visitors at the Rice Tremonti Home this past weekend. An overflow crowd showed up to show off their artistic abilities by painting Raytown Rocks. Of course, Santa was there, preparing for his big day by making lists of gifts for all the girls and boys in attendance.



PHOTO CREDIT: Barb Schlapia and Mindy McDaniel 






To leave a comment use this link POST A COMMENT
 

BY GREG WALTERS
Observations  

The good ship Raytown has weathered a storm of epic proportions. She had been listing hard to port, but the crew has righted her and she is set to sail to brighter horizons.

There is no doubt some will want to carry on with arguments that have already been decided. For the good of our city, and all of us as a community, it is time to accept what has been decided by those we have chosen to govern us and move on.

Here are some thoughts on what should be Raytown’s goals:

THE NEW NORMAL . . . The Raytown Police Department has been on a forced diet. The Department is now smaller. The Chief of Police will have to come up with some innovative ways to police Raytown efficiently. The majority of the Board of Aldermen deserves credit for taking the bitter medicine needed to rein in a city budget that was out of control. But the city’s financial crisis is far from over. Their actions stopped the bleeding that was financially ruining Raytown. But the shortfall of revenue remains. The Board must stay the course in running a fiscally tight operation at City Hall. They really have no other choice.

PRIORITIES . . . Raytown’s infrastructure is literally falling apart. The Board of Aldermen is moving forward on some major projects like the rebuilding of the 83rd Street Bridge. But the biggest problem facing this city is the deterioration of city streets. City Administrator Tom Cole said it best when he told me in an interview last week “you can continually put a new layer of material on top of streets, but if the street is structurally unsound it is wasted effort”. The Board has already had to tap 25% of their reserve fund for street repairs. They are still in the first month of the new fiscal year! Other major roadways like 59th Street west of Raytown Road have deteriorated so much the city has posted signs warning motorists to slow down due to the condition of the road.

PROPERTY TAX . . . Raytown is not a low tax city. The sales tax rate ranks in the top five of the metropolitan area. The property tax ranks in the top three. This is not the city’s fault. The Raytown School District is the main culprit in the high property tax rate. Raytown is also one of only a few cities with separate property tax rates for parks and a fire protection district. Many of Raytown’s citizens are retirees living on a fixed income. An increase in property tax will hurt them the most. Given those facts, raising the property tax levy is not really a viable solution. In many cases it will do more harm than good. Board members need to remember their constituents welfare is the first priority.

NEW TAXES . . . According to City Administrator Tom Cole, the city could levy a 2 cent sales tax on gasoline purchases within the city. One thing Raytown does have an abundance of is gasoline stations. The city is also surrounded by what is called a retail desert. That means people come to Raytown to fuel their cars. State law requires the revenue from such a tax be strictly used for street improvements. This could be a workable solution. The other plus is that the voters will be the ones who make the decision.

SOME PROGRAMS DESERVE MORE SCRUTINY . . . The city pays that Area Transportation Authority (ATA) over $50,000 annually for a mini-bus that is not really used by many Raytowners. It may save scarce tax dollars to contract with a taxi company or use UBER to provide the same service for much less.

So there you have it. A thumbnail sketch of some ideas for Raytown’s future. You may have some ideas as well. Feel free to share them on the blog portion of the Raytown Report.

Paul’s Rant By Paul Livius
WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?

This is going to brief. One thing that is seldom discussed in Raytown is the bad behavior of some during this past summer.

Face it, in America we are seeing a reformation of sorts. Congressmen and Senators are being forced to step down because of their bad behavior. Nearly all of this falls into the category of sexual harassment.

But sexual harassment is not the only problem. In Raytown we have seen extreme cases of bullying by elected officials The city’s Finance Director was literally run out of her own office with threats of legal harassment during the budget session.

Ward 5 Alderman Bonnaye Mims has come under unfair criticism for simply speaking her mind. Ward 1 Alderman Karen Black has been subjected to shout outs at City Council meetings that were less than pleasant.

We have not seen such treatment of the men on the Board of Aldermen.

All of these victims have one thing in common. They are women. Sexual harassment comes in many different forms. Those who resort to this subtle form of harassment should realize they are walking on very thin ice. In the 21st Century, such behavior should not be given a free pass.

TRASH BLOG!
At the beginning of Public Comments Mayor Mike McDonough takes time to outline what is acceptable conduct and content for public comments. The most important point he makes is that the forum will not be used to attack others.

He is right to do so.

But the reality is the rule is not being enforced. Attacks on the integrity of the Board of Aldermen as a whole are common. It would be more accurate to rename the Public Comments something like “Public Official Bashing”.

Last week the attacks went beyond the elected City Council.
A local political gadfly, Tony Jacobs, regularly dresses down the Board of Aldermen at each meeting. This past meeting he referred to “trash blogs” in his diatribe.

There is not any doubt. His comment was not a compliment. There are two blogs that are published in Raytown. One being the Raytown Report, the other is Raytown OnLine.

Neither of them deserves the moniker of “trash blog”.

Ouch, that really hurt, Tony. Shame on you!

Mr. Mayor, you should not allow such conduct.

CAN I MAIL IN MY COMMENTS?
Another oddity during Public Comments was the reading of a letter from the matriarch of Raytown Unleashed. At the end of comments by Brandi Wilmoth, she asked if she could read a letter from Susan Vorbeck Brown into the record.

The Mayor told her no, she could only make comments for herself. Then, for reasons that are not clear, he allowed the letter to be read into the record by the City Clerk, Teresa Henry.

Which begs the question, can anyone mail in their comment to be read into the record?

To top it all off, Susan Vorbeck does not even live in Raytown (she makes her home in Independence). In my opinion, that should not be held against her. If she wants to be part of the community, more power to her.

Some Raytowners have been critical of another Independence resident who owns a local business here in Raytown. Elisa Breitenbach and her husband own and operate Doughboy’s located at 63rd and Woodson Road.

She is welcome part of the community and is active in local events. She has also been criticized for not living here. I believe many of those critics are the same as Susan Vorbeck’s critics. Some of those folks might consider there is more to be gained in opening arms in welcome instead of pushing people away.

Speaking of Independence, they have a Public Comments at their meetings as well. I wondered if the Independence City Council would allow Raytown residents to mail in their comments to be read into the record.

So I asked Greg to do some checking. He knows all of those folks from our giant neighbor to the north. Here is what he found out.

Independence holds their Public Comments at the end of the regular business session. Speakers must be Independence residents unless (at least) four of the elected Councilmembers publicly vote to allow the speaker the floor.

I asked if letters from individuals unable to attend the meeting were read into the record by city personnel. The answer was an emphatic “No!”


The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting
December 5, 2017

PUBLIC COMMENTS:
Tony Jacobs told the Board the Aldermen need to start a Facebook page and do a Facebook Live segment in order to better communicate with the residents.

Matthew Cushman said the ordinance only increases animosity with the residents and the Board should not override the veto.

Brandi Wilmoth asked Teresa Henry to read a letter from Susan Vorbeck Brown who wrote the voters will not approve any tax increases in April if the veto is not allowed to stand.

Mayor Mike McDonough asked for a moment of silence for Judy Ness, who spent countless hours volunteering and making Raytown a better place to live.  He also thanked the Raytown Main Street Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Public Works department and the Raytown Parks Department for helping to make the Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony a success.

MAYOR’S VETO
The Board voted 7 – 2 to pass the ordinance over the objection of the mayor.  Veto of bill 6450-17 - amending chapter 26, Law Enforcement; article ii, police department, section 26-21, relating to the administrative officer of police department. At its meeting of November 21, 2017, the Board of Aldermen approved bill 6450-17. On November 29, 2017 the mayor advised the city clerk that he had vetoed this bill as stated in attached memorandum. In accordance with the RSMO 79.140, the bill is now brought forward to the Board of Aldermen for further consideration. In order for the Mayor’s veto to be overridden, the bill must receive seven affirmative votes.
79.140. Bills must be signed — Mayor's veto. — every bill duly passed by the Board of Aldermen and presented to the mayor and by him approved shall become an ordinance, and every bill presented as aforesaid, but returned with the mayor's objections thereto, shall stand reconsidered. The Board of Aldermen shall cause the objections of the mayor to be entered at large upon the journal, and proceed at its convenience to consider the question pending, which shall be in this form: shall the bill pass, the objections of the mayor thereto notwithstanding? The vote on this question shall be taken by ayes and nays and the names entered upon the journal, and if two-thirds of all the members-elect shall vote in the affirmative, the city clerk shall certify the fact on the roll, and the bill thus certified shall be deposited with the proper officer, and shall become an ordinance in the same manner and with like effect as if it had received the approval of the mayor. The mayor shall have power to sign or veto any ordinance passed by the board of aldermen; provided, that should he neglect or refuse to sign any ordinance and return the same with his objections, in writing, at the next regular meeting of the board of aldermen, the same shall become a law without his signature.

Ryan Myers moved to pass the bill over the mayor’s objections.  Mark Moore said he was not sure why “approval” is such an issue. Karen Black said the only problem Joe Willerth said could happen would be if the Board wanted to micromanage, which the Board has no intention of doing. Bill Van Buskirk and Jim Aziere also spoke publicly in favor of the veto over-ride.

HOW THEY VOTED: Over-ride of Mayor’s Veto

YES:               Bill VanBuskirk, Karen Black, Ryan Myers,
                        Bonnaye Mims, Mark Moore, Jim Aziere, Frank Hunt

NO:                 Steve Meyers, Jason Greene 

ABSENT:        Ward 5 seat remains vacant

The Board passed a resolution authorizing an amendment to the Personnel Manual adopted December 20, 2016 relating to the employment and benefits, separation from municipal service - layoff.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance authorizing an intergovernmental agreement with the Jackson County Board of Election Commissioners to utilize city hall as a polling place for the 2018 calendar year This is a request for a cooperative agreement with Jackson County to provide a polling location for two precincts that serve the City. Under state law, public entities are required to provide polling locations to election authorities free of charge and City Hall has been used as a polling location for many years. The attached contract specifies the rights and responsibilities of the parties with respect to such use.

The Board tabled a resolution until December 19 for the continuation of an agreement for inmate security housing services with Johnson County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Office.

Alderman Steve Meyers said the Board had been told Chief Lynch would be available to answer questions, and he wanted to table this until the Chief was present.  On July 1, 2017 the City entered into a contract with Johnson County Missouri Sheriff’s Department to provide housing for our inmates. The contract will terminate on June 30, 2019. The Police Department is requesting approval to provide payment of invoices to the Johnson County Missouri Sheriff’s Department for fiscal year 2017-2018.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of ammunition from Gulf States Distributors off the Missouri law enforcement agency cooperative purchase contract. This resolution will allow us to take advantage of cooperative bid for the state of Missouri law enforcement agencies. The Police Department orders a variety of ammunition types from Gulf States Distributors. The ammunition for training and duty use, for all weapons systems, is mostly purchased through this vendor. Vendor pricing is from the cooperative purchasing bid for Missouri law enforcement agencies.

The Board passed a resolution approving a maintenance contract with Motorola Solutions. The Police Department utilizes the Motorola radio system during its normal course of duties. To ensure the life span of the equipment having the manufacturer perform the maintenance will make certain the equipment has the best service available. Proper maintenance is necessary to extend the usable life of the radios. This is a recurring yearly contract between Motorola and the City of Raytown to provide maintenance and infrastructure repairs to the radio system in case of failure. Motorola is the designer of the system, has the authority to work on our radios and is the only supplier of the parts to maintain the system. Because of these factors, Motorola is the only source that can perform the work necessary to maintain and keep our radio system functioning.

The Board passed a resolution approving an annual maintenance agreement with Harris Computer-Global software. Harris Computer-Global Software is our Records Management System and Computer Aided Dispatch system vendor. These systems were installed in 2005 and at the time of implementation included 5 years of support. That plan expired in 2010. The support plan is now an annual expense. This support plan is critical to the Department’s function as these systems directly affect how we respond to calls and investigate crimes.

Tom Cole said the Revenue Enhancement Committee has met twice.  Some of the taxing options could be an increase in the property tax of $0.66/per $100 of assessed valuation, a fuel tax of 02/ gallon of gasoline sold in Raytown.  The committee looked at raising the tobacco tax, but Mr. Cole said the Missouri General Assembly passed a law forbidding any increases in tobacco taxes.  The meeting next week will be with department heads in attendance to discuss the needs and the possible fee and/or tax increases.  In order for any tax increases to be on the ballot, the ordinance must be approved by the Board no later than January 16, 2018.

Mayor McDonough said he had two announcements before the meeting was adjourned.  For those who have been following the story of Iris, the dog found half dead in the trash bin, she was taken to the Midwest Animal ResQ center and has made an amazing recovery.  Also, Officer Tom Wagstaff, the Independence police officer injured in the line of duty was released from rehab and is now home.

To leave a comment use this link POST A COMMENT

Sunday, December 3, 2017

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE


Paul’s Rant BY PAUL LIVIUS
The Tyranny of the Minority
Okay. I bastardized the saying. It is actually the Tyranny of the Majority. The Tyranny of the Majority is unofficially an explanation of when the majority refuses to hear or brow beats their opposition into submission on public issues.

I call this story the Tyranny of the Minority because in these strange times it is often the minority who take over the bully pulpit and browbeat their opposition into silence. On the national scene you saw this last summer at the University of California (Berkley) when a minority of the student population rioted to keep public speakers from making addresses at the campus.

In a way, we have a Tyranny of the Minority playing out here in Raytown.
Facebook, a tool that is marvelous for informing the public can also be used to subvert the public. Case in point . . . Mayor McDonough’s veto of the Board of Aldermen’s vote to establish the pecking order of who does what at City Hall.

The Board voted to establish the order as Mayor/Board of Aldermen / City Administrator / Department Heads (elected and appointed).

In so doing, they have adopted a measure already mandated to them by Missouri State Statutes.

So what they have done is nothing new. They merely adopted a law they are required to follow.

The vote was eight yes with one abstention and one position vacant. The Mayor vetoed to the amendment. The Board will now vote on whether to over-turn the veto. It will take seven yes votes to overturn the veto. So unless one of the Aldermen does a flip-flop with their vote, the veto will probably be over-ridden.

It all makes for good theatre. But even if the veto is upheld it will not change anything. Raytown is a Fourth Class City. A fourth class city is a statutory city. That means it must follow the laws established by lawmakers in Jefferson City.
The Board of Aldermen will remain the ultimate decision maker in Raytown.
Let’s go back to the Tyranny of the Minority.

A couple of posts on the blog section of the Raytown Report proclaimed the majority of Raytowners are opposed to the Board’s actions this past six months. One went so far as to say the public speakers at Council meetings ALL support the Police and are opposed to what the Board of Aldermen have accomplished this past year.

I disagree.

I watch the video feeds of the meetings. The “anti” crowd at Board meeting has shrunk considerably. Only about 15 showed up at the last meeting of the Board. When the speakers speak they only need to give their first names. That is because it is always the same speakers. I think Tony and Kathy would agree with me.

Here is a reality check. Most people do not itch for a fight. When someone sits quietly at a meeting and does not wildly applaud when someone giving their point of view speaks, it means they do not agree with what was said
I do not blame people for not standing up and speaking out at meetings. Here is why.

I review all the meetings in my Paul Livius Report. The microphones at city hall are pretty sensitive. Turn up your speaker if you want to check this out. I have heard the reception speakers who are not in tune with the crowd called vulgar names, racist names. Shouts of “sit down” and “shut up” do not encourage anyone with the opposing view from speaking their mind.

I am well aware of how a few can make their voice sound like many on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat. Those same few are often viewed as threatening by many folks. My point in this rather lengthy rant is this . . . Do not take silence as a sign of support of your position. You will be surprised at how wrong you can be.


 4th Class City Tutorial
“These times are strange”, so said Paul Livius to me the other day. Paul went on to say he had never seen so much disinformation being fed in an unending stream in Raytown. Recent actions at City Hall, and outside of City Hall back up what he had said.

So I offered to put together a short tutorial on what my 27 years on the Raytown Board of Aldermen taught me about the workings of a Fourth Class City like Raytown.

To back up my conclusions I did a little web search and found a source (I hope) will be unimpeachable from critics of what is written here. That source is the University of Missouri. You will find it to be extremely user-friendly and full of all sorts of information Bold type is language taken directly from the website.
 Use This Link: FOURTH CLASS CITY

ABSTAINING FROM VOTING:
bring this up because at the last meeting Ward 2 Alderman Jason Green abstained from voting. His vote was improper. I suspect he used the abstention as a way to soft-sell his “no” vote.

There are circumstances in which a member must abstain from voting, but this should be kept to a bare minimum. Each member has, by swearing in, made a commitment to represent citizens on all questions. So, unless voting creates a conflict of interest or constitutes nepotism, all members should vote on all issues. When abstaining, the member should leave the room and not participate in pre-vote discussions.

In other words, if Mr. Green did not agree with the motion on the floor he should have voted “no”. It is really that simple. In Green’s defense he is not the first to make this mistake in protocol. He will probably not be the last. The Mayor has a duty to remind Board members of their duty to make clear votes on motions.


ALDERMEN POWER OF THE COLLECTIVE:

The board of aldermen is empowered by voters to collectively make decisions that are in the best interest of the city. However, sometimes this goal is overlooked as each alderman is elected individually. As individuals, each alderman should strive to best represent his or her ward — proposing ideas, debating issues and even objecting to others' ideas. But once a vote is held (even if it's a close vote or tied), it becomes the whole board's decision and the city's position.

 

POWER OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN:
Only the board of aldermen can make decisions for the city. The mayor can propose, suggest and encourage adoption of a proposal, but the mayor only votes to break a tie vote. Only an alderman can make a motion and second a motion.

But this doesn't mean that the mayor doesn't exercise considerable control as presiding officer of the board. The mayor chooses who is recognized, who is ruled out of order and which motions Procedure following veto.

The mayor only has a vote if there is a tie vote on the Board. A Fourth Class City is often referred to as a weak Mayor, strong Council, form of government. Make no mistake about it. Collectively speaking, the Board of Aldermen is the most powerful force in a Fourth Class City.

VETO POWER OF THE MAYOR:

If the mayor opposes an ordinance passed by the board, he or she may return it to the board immediately upon passage and state his or her objections. The board should direct the clerk to enter the mayor's objections in the minutes and then vote on the ordinance again. The motion is: "Shall the bill pass, the objections of the mayor thereto notwithstanding?" If two-thirds of the elected aldermen agree, the bill becomes an ordinance without the mayor's signature (79.140).

 

The mayor may also choose to return the passed ordinance and state his or her objections at the next regular meeting. At that time, it becomes an ordinance without the mayor's signature or another vote.

To leave a comment use this link POST A COMMENT


Sunday, November 26, 2017

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE



BREAKING NEWS . . .
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has appointed former Ward 5 Alderman Eric Teeman of Raytown of Raytown to the Missouri Board of Education.

Teeman, who resigned his seat on the Raytown Board of Aldermen last month, is the latest of a number of appointments by Governor Greitens to the Missouri Board of Education. It is expected that Teeman will be a voice for alternative schooling opportunities for Missourians.

He and his wife home school their children. Teeman is active in Raytown youth activities. He is the owner of Visiting Angels, a senior-care business.
  


Downtown Raytown
Christmas Lighting
December 1, 2017 – 6:00 p.m. Downtown Raytown








BY GREG WALTERS
Board of Aldermen Vote to 
Approve Chain of Command
The Board of Aldermen has voted to re-affirm the Chain of Command at Raytown City Hall.

By a vote of eight yes, one abstention, and one seat vacant, the Board answered any question regarding the role of the City Administrator at City Hall. Just as important was the message from the majority of the Board re-affirming the organizational chart at Raytown City Hall.

Previous to this action by the Board, the role of City Administrator was not included in the city’s organizational chart. City Attorney Joe Willerth told Board members the Board of Aldermen has final authority over the City Administrator and the Police department.

The amendment was made to an ordinance adopted in 1995. The vote was on the amendment, which set in writing the following structure. 
  • Mayor and Board of Aldermen
  • City Administrator
  • Department Heads (elected and appointed)
The vote clearly sets the Board of Aldermen and to a lesser extent, the Mayor in charge at City Hall.

The Mayor does not have a vote on matters before the Board, except when there is a tie vote. However, the Mayor does have veto power in a Fourth Class City, but it is rarely used. On this issue in particular, the fact that eight of the nine members of the Board approved the amendment makes it literally veto proof.

Many members of the Board saw the vote as a test of the viability of the City’s new Personnel Code. The Personnel Code has been the tool used by the City Administrator and Board of Aldermen as a means of bringing some semblance of order to the day to day operation at City Hall.

Board members were quick to affirm the day to day operations of the city’s various departments remains the responsibility of the appointed and elected Department Heads. It also clarifies the responsibility of department heads to follow direction given by the City Administrator (and backed by the Board of Aldermen) on matters of policy.

A good example of this is the non-compliance of the Police Department as regards GPS tracking of ALL city owned vehicles. The personnel code, which was approved early last summer, specifically directs all city vehicles to have GPS tracking installed.

Inquiries from Board members as to why the devices have not been installed have not been adequately answered by police department spokesmen.

It is one thing to take the step the Board did at its last meeting. Now it is time to see if there will be any effect from the position they have taken. The rules have been clarified. City ordinances are very clear. It is high time all of city hall be run by those ordinances.

The Paul Livius Report BY PAUL LIVIUS
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting
November 21, 2017
Representative Jerome Barnes said Alderman Jim Aziere was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame for his 47 years as a swim coach in the Raytown School District.

COMMUNITY EVENTS
Phyllis Goforth and Pam Clark said December 1 is the Holiday Lighting Ceremony.  It starts at 6:00 pm and will include the school children singing and a non-perishable food collection for REAP. Also, December 8-9-10 at the Raytown Christian Church will be a display of Nativity Scenes.  On December 10 at 7:00 will be the Festival of Bells at the Raytown Christian Church presented by Sue Ann Comfort.

CITY ORGANIZATION CHART AMENDED
The Board passed an ordinance amending chapter 26, Law Enforcement 1, relating to the administrative officer of police department. The Current Code of Ordinances state that “Recognizing the need for adequate supervision of the Police Department, the Chief of Police shall act as administrative officer of said Police Department”. The added language to the attached amended ordinance is not intended to interfere with the ability of the Chief of Police to manage the day-to-day operation of the department; however, it is intended to improve efficiency and be consistent with oversight of other City departments.

This will clarify the City Administrator shall be the administrative officer charged with the supervision of the operation of all departments as stated in Chapter 2, Article III, Division 2, Section 2-130 (a), Administrative Office. The city administrator shall be the chief administrative assistant to the mayor and such shall be the administrative officer of the city government which shall coordinate and generally supervise the operation of all departments of the City. Additionally, in the recently adopted City of Raytown Personnel Manual, the City Administrator is charged with the Administration of the Manual; however, Section 26-21 is in conflict with that Board of Aldermen directive. 

The Board asked Tom Cole about his thoughts on the proposed ordinance.  Mr. Cole stated if it only pertained to the budget and not the policy manual, it was pretty much worthless.  Alderman Jason Greene asked who ran the city in 1995 when the original personnel manual was written.

City Attorney Joe Willerth told the Board the law for a 4th class city has not changed.  The Board has final authority over the police department.  Neither the policy manual nor an ordinance can take the Board out of the chain of command. The ordinance passed by a vote of 8 ayes and one abstention.

How they voted:

YES.................Hunt, Black, Aziere, Moore, Myers,
                         VanBuskirk, Meyers, Mims
ABSTAIN........Jason Greene
VACANT..........Ward 5 seat is vacant

SEWER USE FEES TO BE INCREASED BY 5%
The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance amending code of ordinances for sewer rate user fees.  Over the past several years, sewer treatment costs have risen for treatment services provided by Kansas City Missouri (KCMO) and for Little Blue Valley Sewer District (LBVSD) provided services. For several years, the City staff was able to maintain the City rate through the implementation of numerous cost-saving programs.

This year in order to be compliant with funding requirements associated with debt issued for the sewer fund the sewer rate will need to be increased approximately 5% across the board. This will ensure sustainability of the fund. Based on historical increases from KCMO and LBVSD there will be additional increases needed in future years.

Due to rising costs in treatment, maintenance, and operations, staff is recommending the following adjustments to Chapter 44: 1) Amend c (4) to read Base Rate - the Base Rate shall be $[14.70] 15.44 per month. 2) Amend c (9) to read Variable rate. The revenue charged expressed in per 1,000 gallons that is derived when the annual variable rate revenue requirement is divided by the customer volumes, estimated to be $8.28 and $8.69 per 1,000 gallons, in excess of 1,000 gallons.

SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY ADOPTED
The Board passed a resolution approving an amendment to the Raytown Personnel Manual adopted December 20, 2016 relating to a social media policy. Social media tools are a powerful form of communication that can have a significant impact on organizational, professional, and individual reputations. Forms of social media include but are not limited to Facebook.com, Google+, LinkedIn.com, MySpace.com, and Twitter.com, as well as personal websites and weblogs (blogs).

Employees must exercise care when participating in social media, as the lines between personal and professional content, lawful and unlawful, and between public and private content, are often blurred. Whether participating on behalf of the City or personally, employees should follow the same standards of behavior “online” as they would if “in person” and should be mindful of how their online activities reflect upon themselves, their particular position with the City and the City as a whole.

The purpose of this policy is to respect each employee’s right to participate in social media while balancing the City’s legal, fiscal and safety obligations to its employees and citizens under state and federal laws. This policy should be read and applied in conjunction with the City’s Electronic Communication and Internet Usage policy.

Employees who become aware of a violation of this policy have a duty to notify their supervisor, department head, City Administrator or the Human Resources Manager immediately. In accordance with the Electronic Communication and Internet Usage policy, employees are reminded that they should have no expectation of privacy when using and/or accessing the Internet, which includes social networking sites: (1) during work hours; (2) on City equipment; or (3) to the extent that the content is publicly available.
There are times when social media postings by employees may create potential criminal or civil liability for the City. If the City determines that to be the case, it reserves the right to require the posting be removed and to impose discipline up to and including termination.

AMENDMENTS TO PERSONNEL CODE TABLED
The Board tabled until December 5, 2017, a resolution providing for an amendment to the Raytown Personnel Manual adopted December 20, 2016 relating to Employment and Benefits, Separation from Municipal Service;



Alderman Mims Speaks Out
BY BONNAYE MIMS, EDITED BY PAUL LIVIUS AND GREG WALTERS
“. . . a political campaign of misinformation, spread through the inaccuracies of Facebook comments, and a none too subtle attempt to manipulate the video news media in Kansas City has created a toxic atmosphere in which tempers are short”, said Ward 5 Alderman Bonnaye Mims.

The following outline of events, as seen through the eyes of Mims, shows how frayed nerves and the tension at Raytown City Hall has intensified throughout the community. She offers the following timeline of events during the city’s Budget Process.
  • “When city departments were instructed to decrease their budget requests, they all complied with deep cuts to help meet budget shortfalls. All, except for the Police Department. They came forward with requests for budget-busting increases in excess of six figures in additional dollars on top of the 8.4 million they had started with”.
  • Chief of Police Jim Lynch released public statements via Facebook condemning the Board of Aldermen for attempting to cut police officer positions to balance the budget.
  • Mayor Mike McDonough then released comments via Facebook in which he called the City Administrator and Board’s request as “reckless”.
  • When Alderman Mims asked for historical data on police policies through the City Clerk’s office and the Office of the City Administrator. She received a call from Police Chief Jim Lynch. According to Mims, Lynch told her, “If she (Mims) wanted information about his department she had to ask him”. Mims replied she was following proper protocol by using the lines of communication to ask for public information. She said she found the interaction with Lynch as “defensive to her requests”. In response, Lynch raised his voice over the phone at Mims. Mims said he was so out of control that a Police Major took over the conversation.
  • Mims wrote, “Throughout this this year’s budget process, myself and other Board members asked Police staff some very tough questions”. The resulting answers made us ask this question, “Is this how business is really conducted? We quickly realized that once the Chief and other command staff are told no, then pressure and intimidation is applied to the Board of Aldermen”.
  • At an early budget meeting police officials walked out of budget meetings when Board members began asking pointed questions on spending policies within the Police Department.
  • October 6, 2017 City Clerk Teresa Henry, Aldermen Mark Moore and Bonnaye Mims were meeting in the Clerk’s office when the city Finance Director walked in. Mims wrote, "She was visibly shaking and broke down crying. She had just left her office after meeting with the Chief of Police. He had questioned why she had drawn up an organizational chart of the Police Department.She responded to Lynch that the direction to create the chart had come from the Aldermen and City Administrator. Lynch told her, he and the FOP have had it up to here with you,and I (Lynch) want you to be aware that you can be personally liable and that the FOP had discussed suing you."
  • After giving a passionate speech in support of budget cuts during a work  session of the Board, Alderman Mark Moore was confronted by Jim Lynch. After his speech, Moore excused himself from the meeting. As he was leaving Moore said something to Mims. She did not clearly hear what he had to say so she followed him out into the hallway behind the Council dias. Chief Lynch was standing there waiting for Moore. When he saw Mims he pointed at her and raised his voice saying, “you go back in there, I got this handled” and proceeded to walk up Moore saying “what’s your damn problem”. At this point I left the hallway and returned to the dias. You could hear the ensuing argument between Lynch and Moore through the closed door.
  • While driving to a Raytown Chamber of Commerce meeting Mims received a phone call from an unknown person. According to Mims the caller said, “N-----, watch your back . . . messing with our Police Chief and Mayor, we’re going to get rid of your ass”. Mims has reported the phone call to the appropriate authorities regarding race relations.
  • Mims said "The conduct of Police Chief Lynch, and to a lesser extent, that of Mayor Mike McDonough has been unacceptable. The tactics they have used are those of a bully. Intimidation and threats have no place in any type of business, public or private. Just how petty and small minded some of the attacks of intimidation have become can best be shown in what happened to one of my seatmates on the Board of Aldermen."
  • Ward 4 Alderman Bill VanBuskirk is a former licensed Raytown police officer. He worked as reserve for the Department in the 1970’s. Each year the Department has a fundraising event to benefit REAP and the Policeman’s Benefit Association. Each year, Mr. VanBuskirk makes a donation to the event. This year, Police Chief Jim Lynch had VanBuskirk’s donation returned to him. Bill’s wife, Mary Jane VanBuskirk, upon receiving the check told him she would make the donation directly to REAP herself. What did anyone hope to gain by this rude, senseless and hurtful act?
Their actions are an embarrassment to the city. They should stop their acts of non-compliance, insults and bad behavior. They should channel their energy and effort to work with the Board of Aldermen for Raytown’s future.

To leave a comment use this link POST A COMMENT