Saturday, March 25, 2017

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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Candidate Forum 
Tuesday March 28
6:30 - 8:00
Raytown City Hall



BY GREG WALTERS
Random Notes
I attended last Tuesday’s meeting of the Raytown Board of Aldermen. Yes, it was true. The Council Chambers was full of Raytowners. Nearly all of them came to listen to speakers give their comments on recent articles in the Raytown Times.

Judging by the response of the audience, it would be fair to say most were in agreement that Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere and former Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer had gone too far in their written accusations of wrong doing by members of the Raytown Board of Aldermen.
It would also be fair to say much of criticism fell squarely on the shoulders of Raytown Times owner Randy Battagler. Some speakers suggested Battagler was as much at fault for giving a platform to Aziere and Creamer to spread what many called outright lies.

We have given a brief synopsis of those comments. Readers can also use a link at the beginning of the Paul Livius Report if they prefer to watch a video of the meeting.

THEY SAID WHAT?!?
What I found interesting is that the fabrications continued as Aziere spoke.
Park Board member Chris Rathbone told about inaccuracies and misinformation on Jim Aziere’s Facebook page.  Jim Aziere later denied posting to Facebook. The picture to the right is a screen shot of a post by Jim Aziere on the very topic Mr. Rathbone brought to the table.



ENDORSEMENTS
Speaking of Randy Battagler, we noticed that he has already endorsed nearly all of the Aziere/Creamer slate of candidates. We thought it odd the endorsement would come out as early as it did. We also found it equally odd that he had more bad to say about candidates than good.

We normally do not endorse in elections at the Raytown Report. But this year we are making an exception. Look for our endorsements after we have a chance to see the candidates at the League of Women Voters debate scheduled for Tuesday, March 28th.

OUCH!!!
XRAY OF EMERSON'S FOOT
One member of the audience told me they did not believe Alderman Janet Emerson had really broken her foot. I was pretty sure the Ward 3 Alderman had, in fact, been honest about her injuries. I mentioned it Janet and she sent me an xray of her foot as proof positive she had indeed broken her foot.

BY PAUL LIVIUS
Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – March 21, 2017




Public Fills Council Chambers
to Air Complaints

Last Tuesday's meeting of the Raytown Board of Aldermen was unique. Raytowners filled the Council Chamber to speak on recent articles and letters in the Raytown Times. Central to the discussion was an article titled "The View From Here" by Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere and a letter writing campaign by former Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer. To view a video recording of last Tuesday's Board of Aldermen meeting

USE THIS LINK . . .PUBLIC COMMENTS   


Alderman Steve Meyers spoke during public comments and said there are those who abused editorial privileges with slanderous accusations by basement letter writers.  This board of aldermen has made decisions and updated policies that will benefit residents for years to come.

Alderman Jason Greene said he wanted to address the intentional misinformation in the local paper.  These statements have become so outlandish that a response has become necessary.  He and others on the Board have been accused of having secret meetings with the Raytown Fire Protection District.  Alderman Greene said he is the Fire Board liaison.  Chief Matt Mace spoke with Alderman Greene about issues concerning the 350 Live TIF.  The information provided to Mr. Greene was also provided to the public.  The accusations of sunshine law violations were made.  The Missouri Attorney General investigated the claim and found no violations.

Fire Chief Matt Mace asked the board if the opinion expressed by Alderman Jim Aziere was shared by the whole Board.  In March, 2017, Alderman Jim Aziere was a contributing writer in the local paper.  He specifically identified himself as an Alderman.  Chief Mace said he takes exception when Jim Aziere referred to the Raytown Fire Protection District as Raytown’s branch of the Kansas City Fire Department.  

Mace said, "For over 70 years, the Raytown Fire District has proudly served this community and we find this comment reprehensible.I have ignored these short-sided attacks for too long, choosing to follow the advice of Mark Twain… “Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference”. The problem with this approach is the risk that people will begin to believe a lie if they hear it repeated enough without challenge. Tonight, I intend to set the record straight."

Alderman Karen Black said the goal is to move Raytown forward for families.  Jim Aziere presented alternative facts but she’s not sure why because he has attended the same meetings as the rest of the board.

Chris Rathbone said he wanted to set the facts straight and clear up any false information put forward by Jim Aziere.  Alderman Aziere claimed on his Facebook page that Super Splash is used more than the other 18 parks put together.  Alderman Aziere also stated on Facebook that Super Splash was to be sold.  Mr. Rathbone pointed out there are only 10 parks in Raytown.  The Park Board has not discussed selling Super Splash.

Robbie Tubbs told the Board Joe Creamer makes statements that are unsubstantiated and full of suppositions.  She said Jim Aziere has now been pulled into the problems.  She pointed out that Aziere said Raytown no longer has a professional city staff. Aziere also wrote in the local paper that the Board cut parks budget funds and reallocated money to storm water.  Ms. Tubbs said in 2010, Aziere was the one who added storm water to the ballot language.  She said Aziere keeps complaining about the closing of Super splash, but fails to talk about the $1 million loss at Super Splash in recent years.

Sam Dawson said he and his family moved to Raytown 20 years ago.  They rely on the Board to run the city.  He doesn’t have time.  This is the Board’s job.  He’s seeing more businesses pop up and that’s a good thing.

Joe Creamer told the Board people can laugh at what he writes.  He said he has proof about all the accusations in his garage.  If he had known about the meeting, he would have brought copies to share.

Alderman Jim Aziere told the Board he was wrong.  He is willing to admit the meetings between the Board of Alderman and the Raytown Fire Protection District were not illegal.  He’s just upset because he wasn’t invited.

Proclamations / Presentations:
Megan Butler, a special education teacher at New Trails Early Learning Center, is a nominee for the 2017 Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award from the Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Brenda Kueck, band director at Raytown South Middle School, received the 2017 Outstanding Jazz Educator Award from the Missouri Association of Jazz Educators.

Lisa Kirk, art teacher at Spring Valley Elementary, has been selected as the Elementary Art Educator of the Year by the Missouri Art Education Association.

Otis Peeler, Raytown South High School senior, finished the wrestling season ranked number one with a record of 41-0.  Peeler won the first-place title in the 170-pound weight class at the Missouri State High School Activities Association’s 3A wrestling championship.

The Herndon Career Center’s ProStart Culinary Team earned first place at the Missouri ProStart Invitational and qualified for the national competition in April.


The Board passed an ordinance approving the Ninth Amended Development Plan submitted by the Raytown Municipal Redevelopment Corporation, establishing a declaration that the redevelopment area described within the Ninth Amended Development Plan is a blighted area in need of development and redevelopment, and authorizing certain tax abatements within the redevelopment area described within the Ninth Amended Development Plan.  Wanda Mullins is seeking approval of a Chapter 353 Tax Abatement application for renovations to the property for use as a bakery.  Chapter 353 Tax Abatement is an economic incentive that by state law allows for full or partial tax relief for those willing to redevelop property within blighted areas.  The intent of the Raytown Municipal Redevelopment Corporation (RMRC) is to strengthen the economic viability of the Downtown Raytown area by providing an innovative financial incentive for improving the exterior appearance, interior and structural conditions of its buildings.  The RMRC Board of Directors has recommended approval of the application for Chapter 353 tax abatement at Level A “Market Stabilizing” for the property located at 5902 Blue Ridge Blvd.  The abatement level is 10 years of tax abatement at 100% (on the improvement value), or for the cost of the improvements, whichever occurs first.The submitted application indicates the type of improvements proposed and the estimated costs will include:

• Interior Finish: $12,000
• Detention Pond: $16,000
• Parking Lot: $31,000
• HVAC: $9,989
• Hot Water Tank: $700
• Equipment: $4,500
• Total: $74,189

The Board passed a resolution amending the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget related to Raytown BMX.  A budget amendment is requested to increase the capital expenditures for Park BMX.  Following approval of the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget, Raytown BMX ended fiscal year 2015-2016 with a surplus of revenue over expenses.  Since opening in 1999, Raytown BMX has operated as an enterprise fund with budget surplus carried over to the next fiscal year for capital improvements.

The Board passed a resolution approving participation by the city in the Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety Crash Reduction/hazardous moving enforcement project and an application for grant funding in connection with the Highway Safety Crash Reduction/hazardous moving enforcement grant for such purposes.  If awarded, the billed hours worked by officers of the Raytown will be reimbursed at the rate of 100%.  The Raytown Police Department intends to utilize these funds to decrease hazardous driving related offenses and crashes within the Raytown city limits.  The grant, if awarded, allows for $6,000.00 dollars to be used for overtime assignments and will be reimbursed at 100% to the city.  In addition, the grant will reimburse the cost of sending one officer to the annual LETSAC conference for additional training.  There is no match required by the City for this grant.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of parts and supplies for police vehicles from LE Upfitter off the Western States Contracting alliance contract in an amount not to exceed $29,016.  The Police Department has purchased three new Ford Police Utility Interceptors and one new Ford Expedition.  The current equipment that is in the existing vehicles has reached the end of its life expectancy.  The exterior lighting cost for all vehicles is approximately $15,914.14.  No other bids are required for the lighting as this is a Government Contract through Western States Contracting Alliance.  LE Upfitter was also the best bid for the interior up fit.  The total cost for the interior up fit is $13,102.

The Board passed a resolution approving the continuation an agreement with Infinity Building Services for mowing services in an amount not to exceed $52,000 but within budgeted amounts for fiscal year 2016-2017.  This 2015 Raytown Mowing Services project low bid of Infinity Building Services was for both the Parks Department and the Public Works Department mowing.  The 2015 bid included options for a second and third year of mowing services.  The contractor’s mark-up is zero percent for both future years, and they agree to work this year for the same costs as last year.  The Parks & Recreation Department will have the contractor mow up to 14 possible areas.  They included 7 park areas on the base bid which will be mowed on a regular basis, and another 7 areas on an alternate bid that will only be mowed when needed.
The Public Works Department will have the contractor mow 35 areas throughout the City.  Each location will be paid per the contract unit costs.  The number of times each area is mowed will depend on the location of the area, as well as the weather.  Alderman Eric Teeman said this company has had performance issues in the past.  Alderman Steve Meyers said this bid is two years old.  Since they gave us poor service last year, how do we know they will do better this year?  Alderman Jim Aziere said at one time, Raytown hired summer help and public works mowed the grass in-house.  He said he’s not sure why the city stopped that practice.  Alderman Bill Van Buskirk pointed out the city sent the mowing out to bid because the cost of maintaining the equipment was too high.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of asphalt and related supplies from Vance Brothers in an amount not to exceed $35,000.  During the fiscal year, Public Works expended approximately $35,000.00 purchasing asphalt for asphalt patching by Public Works crews.  There are two vendors that are an acceptable distance from the City that supply asphalt materials; however, Vance Brothers, Inc. is available the most days in any given year since they only close for Holidays, snow days, rain days and days with very low temperatures.  The other company is closed December 1 through March 1.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of parts and supplies from O’Reilly Auto Parts off the National Joint Powers Alliance Cooperative purchasing contract in an amount not to exceed $65,000.  This will provide vehicle replacement parts is and ongoing and necessary to properly service the City’s fleet.

The Board passed an ordinance approving the expenditure of funds to acquire easements related to the 83rd street bridge project in an amount not to exceed $18,000.  The City has hired Olsson Associates to design the removal and replacement of the 83rd Street Bridge.  Olsson has hired Chris Huffman, Huffman Corridor Consulting/Martens Appraisal, to acquire the six necessary easements from five property owners.  These six easements will end up costing the City $18,000.  This expense was not included within the current budget.  Public Works Department is requesting a budget amendment to increase the Transportation Sales Tax budget to include paying for the easements needed to remove and replace the 83rd Street Bridge.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the expenditure of funds to remove trees related to the 83rd street bridge project in an amount not to exceed $2,500. The City has hired Olsson Associates to design the removal and replacement of the 83rd Street Bridge.  We have chosen Integrity Tree Care to remove the trees on the south side of the bridge that are necessary for the construction of the new bridge, at a cost of $2,500.00.  This area of tree removal is about 365 feet long and 50 feet wide, as depicted on the attached aerial photo.  This expense was not included within the current budget.  The Public Works Department is requesting a budget amendment to increase the Transportation Sales Tax budget to include removal of trees necessary to remove and replace the 83rd Street Bridge.

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

RAYTOWN''S LEADING NEWS SOURCE


Candidate Forum 
Tuesday March 28
6:30 - 8:00
Raytown City Hall


EDITOR'S NOTE: Mayor Michael McDonough has issued a press release on the controversial "Cease and Desist" issue brought forth by former Mayor Sue Frank. Due to the length of the press release we have placed the text of the Mayor's Press Release follows the bottom "POST A COMMENT" link at the of this week's news.

BY GREG WALTERS
Former Mayor 
Responds to Criticism
Former Raytown Mayor Sue Frank has sent a letter to Raytown City Administrator Tom Cole requesting the City of Raytown to “Cease and Desist” the actions of Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere. Her letter is in response to an article entitled “The View from the Inside”, published in the Raytown Times on March 15, 2017.

Frank has been the target of criticism by both Alderman Jim Aziere and former Alderman Joe Creamer in the current political campaigns for five seats on the Raytown Board of Alderman.

She wrote, “. . . Mr. Aziere has participated in the ongoing libel and slander about me as further perpetuated by the Raytown Times and former alderman, Joe Creamer. The language used by Alderman Aziere is almost verbatim to other false claims.”

The entire letter from Sue Frank follows. It is not known if City Administrator Tom Cole responded to Ms. Frank. However he did send a letter to members of the Board of Aldermen regarding the matter. A copy of his letter follows Ms. Frank’s letter.

Mayor Michael McDonough has placed the item on next Tuesday’s agenda (March 21, 2017).

The March 21st meeting is a regular meeting of the Board of Aldermen and is open to the public. The agenda allows for public comments by private citizens at the beginning of the meeting. The meeting begins at 7:00 o’clock and is held in the Raytown City Council Chambers located at 10000 East 59th Street.


FORMER MAYOR SUE FRANK’S LETTER

Mr. Tom Cole, City Administrator                            March 14, 2017
10000 East 59th Street
Raytown, MO 64133

Dear Mr. Cole,

I have some serious concerns regarding letters in the local paper written by, and signed as, Alderman Jim Aziere. It appears Mr. Aziere has participated in the ongoing libel and slander about me as further perpetuated by the Raytown Times and former alderman, Joe Creamer. The language used by Alderman Aziere is almost verbatim to other false claims.

Mr. Aziere, when writing recently about the Citizens Oversight Committee states, “What we concluded was the cities were comparable in size, per capita, and arrests.” This article is entitled “The View from the Inside.”

I ask that the City of Raytown Cease and Desist and make a public statement as to the falsity of these claims. Short of this I will have to seek legal remedies.

I appreciate your time and attention to this serious matter.

Respectfully submitted,

Sue Frank

CITY ADMINISTRATOR TOM COLE’S LETTER

Mayor & Board of Aldermen:

Please review the attached request to “Cease and Desist” from Sue Frank regarding recent articles and columns published in the local newspaper.  I believe her footing rests on conditions known as “actual malice” which is defined as:

Actual malice in United States law is a condition required to establish libel against public officials or public figures and is defined as "knowledge that the information was false" or that it was published "with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not."

As the recent letter(s) to the newspaper were written by an individual identifying himself with the title “Alderman” and the survey distributed to other communities was presented to those communities with the title of  “Alderman” atop the page, Ms. Frank and the recipients of those surveys likely view the content of the article(s) and the survey as being “from the City.”

I am providing you with this letter simply to keep you informed and this is not a call to action.  Wednesday, I will speak with Joe Willerth (City Legal Counsel) regarding this matter.

 Thank you,

TC


Paul's Rant BY PAUL LIVIUS
SIGN, SIGN, EVERYWHERE A SIGN
I have been approached by a number of candidates for the Raytown Board of Aldermen to write a story about the disappearance of political signs from their supporters' yards in the past few weeks.

The Raytown Report has already documented the loss of nearly all of Bonnaye Mimns yard signs in Ward Five. She has since turned over information to the Raytown Police Department in hopes of exposing the guilty party.

Here is a rundown of what we have heard by other candidates on the subject:

WARD 2: Jason Greene says he has lost a small number of signs. He believes the signs were purposely stolen because not only were the signs gone, so were the wires.

WARD 3: Both candidates, Ryan Myers and Janet Emerson, say yard signs have disappeared. Neither candidate blames the other. Though it is doubtful Mrs. Emerson has been involved. She broke her foot in four places a few weeks ago and is scheduled for surgery this coming Tuesday.

WARD 4: Bill VanBuskirk says he has lost some signs but believes most of them were the result of strong winds associated with a storm about a week ago. He tells us the signs were gone, but the wires were still in the ground.

WARD 1: Greg told me he is aware of only one sign that has gone missing. He told me, "The wire was still in the ground so I assume someone needed the paper part of the sign."
The Raytown Report has not received any other complaints from candidates on missing signs.

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PRESS RELEASE
DATE: March 20, 2017
FROM: Mayor Michael McDonough
CONTACT: 816-737-6003
SUBJECT: Letter from Mayor Michael McDonough to the Citizens of Raytown

For Immediate Release
I put in over 39 years of dedicated service to the citizens of Raytown as a Police Officer.
Over the years I was blessed to have served the people of this town in many ways, professionally and personally. I was there to help, to protect and to serve. Service above self is what I believed and what I learned to do over those many years. That is what I believe in to this day. Not the politics of old that have kept this town in a quagmire and kept it from flourishing as it should and could.

I worked with some of the most dedicated, honest, caring people that one could have ever had the pleasure to have known. These individuals that made up the group of first responders (police, fire and emergency medical personnel) were and still are family to me. Just like soldiers in battle, we cemented kinships only those who have been tested in the field will ever know.

I believe that it all comes down to the people that do the work. I have enjoyed being the Mayor of my hometown. Most on this board of aldermen and the present city staff have learned to work together for the greater good of our town. I have heard and read many negative things about this board and this administration and I intend to address them here. This Board and I have now had our integrity attacked with half-truths and lies. I always believe in freedom of speech and for opposing views, but I never allow people to attack my integrity and will answer those attacks with the truth.

Over the last year, most of this Board of Aldermen have united and work well together. There have been published writings and innuendoes by several of the same people. To Joe Creamer, I say if you have some kind of evidence that shows that there has been some type of illegal activity from anyone on this Board of Aldermen, then bring it forward to the proper authorities. As Mayor, all I can say is that your rants have caused harm to this City and is nothing but the usual old politics that we are working to leave behind, to move the city forward.

It has been said several times that I was placed in this seat by the Police Department. Do I care about them, well yes, of course I do, I was a police officer for over 39 years. I will not apologize for that, nor will I allow people to try and make something bad about it. I was not placed in this seat by the Police Department. I was placed here by the voters of this city. I worked hard to earn the citizens’ trust and they trusted me and voted me into this office. I take this job seriously and weigh every decision I make as to how it will affect everyone. That is who is important to us all, the citizens. The city staff, board of aldermen, police, emergency medical services personnel, fire protection district and the school district is full of dedicated personnel.

I also want to point out that I have no vote on any matters that any department, including the Police Department, brings forward unless there is a tie vote by the Board of Alderman, and that has not happened yet.

I am a positive person and I believe that most of us have come together and things in this city are getting better. Just look at all the progress around you. That should answer some of the questions as to how this city is progressing in the right direction. In the words of our new City Administrator Tom Cole, “We are doing cool things.” Just watch and see how much more things improve and what we will do in the near future.

The publisher of the local paper, Randy Battagler, wrote that meetings of the Board of Aldermen were being held that are called Work Sessions where things are discussed that will come before the Board of Aldermen at the next meeting. He seemed to imply that there was something amiss about these meetings. He complained that there is no record of what is discussed in these meetings. He also complained that he could not make it to these and then get his papers delivered the next day. Let me be clear. Work sessions include an agenda and are posted on the City’s website and other areas as is required by law. Work sessions are posted and are open to the public. Work sessions are designed as a discussion arena for issues that typically are presented to the Board of Aldermen for consideration at future meetings and are intended to assure that agenda items meet and/or exceed the Board’s goals. Alderman Jim Aziere attends the work sessions also. There are also notes taken as to what items were discussed in the work sessions.

Alderman Jim Aziere wrote a guest editorial in the local newspaper and made inaccurate statements. First of all, there will not be any issuance of debt to build a storage facility for the Police Department that was to include a small training area for officers. That facility has already been in the city budget.

Former Alderman Joe Creamer made the assertion that the issuing of debt would be done by getting loans from banks and even asserted that there would be kickbacks. The accusations that anyone in our government would be involved in such activity is absurd. Mr. Battagler mentioned that normally a city goes out for a bond issue for such things. I have already spoken with the City Manager into looking at the possibility of a future bond issue to get more infrastructure projects of all kinds done and what that would look like. It would also most require a vote of the people for approval and would be for more expensive projects needed for this city’s infrastructure improvement.

For one thing, because of grants that will expire, being attached to the four below listed projects and the rising cost of construction, many of us felt it imperative that we look at borrowing money to get them done and save money down the line in construction costs while getting four of the oldest, important, pending projects done. Since Alderman Aziere was speaking about Mahesh Sharma, I would like to remind him that the idea of borrowing money to get these four projects done and saving money on construction costs and not losing grants was Mr. Sharma’s idea in the first place and was relayed to me by him not too long after I took office. He even asked to eliminate the idea of one sidewalk project along 350 Highway because the cost had risen by 33 percent. While it may tie up money for projects for the next few years, they are all projects that have been waiting for a very long time.

The truth is that issuing debt for Public Works projects is being done by the process of the City releasing a Request for Qualifications seeking a Financial Advisor to assist in identifying means to pay for four primary projects to potentially include:

 Re-surfacing of Blue Ridge Boulevard from 59th Street to Woodson.

 Improving the 350 Highway and Raytown Road Intersection

 Building Sidewalks along 59th Street near Raytown Central Middle School

 83rd Street Bridge Replacement

The Financial Advisor will also assist in identifying a means to refinance the existing Tax Increment Financing bonds to assure a significant savings to the City in its annual repayment of the bonds. The Financial Advisor will serve in an advisory capacity only and will not be allowed to offer financial/lending services from his/her own entity. In simple terms, the Financial Advisor will recommend the best options for financial solutions and savings regarding projects and bonds.

Raytown Emergency Medical Services-

The next subject is what Randy Battagler and Jim Aziere said about the restructuring, removing or “giving away” EMS Services. Mark Laughry, who was the Finance Director and interim City Administrator recently, thought there might be a cheaper solution to the cost of running a city-owned ambulance service. It turned out that, after more investigation, this is simply not the case. The City is currently NOT in negotiation with any entity regarding dismissal, sale or outsourcing of EMS services to the Raytown Fire District or any other entity. Over the years, a number of conversations have occurred regarding a merger with the Fire District. However, the costs associated with such a merger would likely be in excess of current EMS operations and provide little to no control of the operation by the City. As such, it makes zero financial sense at this time to pursue such an option. Additionally, private third-party EMS providers occasionally contact the City pitching their services. To date, the City has not received a formal proposal from such firms. In the event a proposal would be delivered to the City, it would be presented to the Board of Aldermen. If the City were interested in outsourcing EMS services, a formal bid process including multiple private EMS providers would have to be initiated. This measure has not been initiated, nor are plans in the works for such measures.

Super Splash Closure-

Mr. Aziere has made the statement that the Aldermen made the decision to close Super Splash. The Raytown Park Board recommended closing the park in 2015, but the Board of Aldermen overrode that decision and opted to allow it to function another year throughout 2016. The Park Board since has made the decision to close the park for the 2017 season to look at options with the park. Also, Mr. Aziere, in response to what you put in your guest editorial, I did not say “Raytona Beach” referring to Super Splash. It was in regard to a cute saying that I have about Raytown. Just so you will remember, I said “Raytona Beach, where every day is a holiday and every meal a feast, and we are always on the sunny side of the street,” because I love this city and the people in it.

Attorney General Sunshine Law letter-

I am aware that Alderman Aziere and Publisher Randy Battagler have stated in their articles that the Board of Alderman received a reprimand or “scolding” from the Missouri Attorney General for conducting “secret meetings”. However, careful review of the Attorney General’s response, dated July 6, 2016, reveals that there was no finding of any violation of the Sunshine Law and reaffirms the position of the Board of Alderman that “no public policy was formulated or vote taken” on the information presented by the Fire District in the meetings of February 15, 2016. The information presented by the Fire District was promptly made public by the Mayor’s press release of February 16, 2016, and the correspondence of the Attorney General’s office, dated July 6, 2016, closed the matter without further action.

Personnel Manual-

I pulled the very first draft of the personnel manual from the Board of Aldermen agenda because it was very flawed and full of mistakes that could have resulted in tax payers paying for lawsuits that may have resulted due to conflicting measures in the original manual. After the first revision was sent to the city attorney for review, we received a “red line” copy of the manual which showed many pages of mistakes, contradictions, or deficiencies that the attorney found. Even when the most recent version was brought forward for a vote, it was recognized that there were still provisions that needed to be corrected. The manual was adopted to give the employees the benefits it provided. The Personnel Policy committee is now in the process of correcting some of those items.

Volunteers on Committees and Boards-

The statement in the guest editorial was made that I had not welcomed the appointees that the former Mayor had made to some of the Committees and Boards of volunteers. I

only replaced a few of those appointees, and most of those that did get replaced were already on expired terms. Many of the appointees that former Mayor Bower appointed right before I took office were retained and are still on the appointed committees and boards.


John Benson left his job as Community Development Director for a job as City Administrator in Marshfield, Missouri. It was something that he had talked about for several years and thus he fulfilled a lifelong desire.

Mark Laughry left the City of Raytown for Leavenworth County, Kansas, to be their County Administrator. That new job was comparable in responsibility and compensation to our City Administrator position, but was a better fit for him. As he put it, “It’s only 10 minutes from home and no night meetings.”

Kati Horner Gonzalez left our employment to seek a job as one of the Public Works engineers in her hometown of Independence, Missouri.

Regarding recent comments and/or letters/articles in the Raytown Times written by Alderman Jim Aziere, former Alderman Joe Creamer and Raytown Times Publisher Randy Battagler.

Our legal counsel has reviewed the recent comments and absolutely and completely dismisses such comments as the thoughts and commentary of the individual authors.

The City of Raytown has not sanctioned or supported the content of such commentaries, nor has the City of Raytown sanctioned or supported the survey regarding the Police Department which was distributed to numerous other communities by Mr. Aziere. In short, none of the authors of such content have been serving as true representatives or spokespersons for the City of Raytown in these matters.

In closing, I say thank you, to all that believe in our city and thanks for those that support all our staff, elected officials and all of our first responders in the great job that they do in keeping this city moving forward and keeping it safe and saving lives. Thanks for being one of us in living here, working here or playing here. God bless our wonderful town of Raytown. God bless our Staff and guide our elected officials and God bless these United States of America.

Sincerely,

Michael T. McDonough Mayor of Raytown