Sunday, August 26, 2007

Heard on the Street

Since I am on the City Council – I sometimes am privileged to hear information about future plans for our city before they are publicly known. But it is also true that often times I am the last person on the Council to find out those plans. Sometimes, I also receive information from sources outside of city hall. Some of those sources have a very good track record of being right. I don’t know who gives them their information – and I am most certainly not going divulge who they are – but I will share with you the following that was “Heard on the Street”. Charter . . . Anyone?!? Apparently, some individuals have been discreetly making inquiries about the possibility of another run at passing a Charter in Raytown. For those who are keeping count, this will make the fifth such effort since the city was incorporated. Some say that the last Charter election was so divisive, that it is too soon to try another. I am not so sure. A lot of the bad actors, Sue Frank in particular, has since departed her position of power. She was the impetus behind efforts to manipulate the ballot, keep the charter off the ballot, and subsequent lawsuits and other nasty actions (like stealing charter books from the library) that drug the whole election into the toilet. With her gone from the scene, it may create a better atmosphere. It would probably be a good idea for those who are making the inquiries to go public. After all, we don’t want the impression of people sneaking around to get an advantage in an election, do we? Bond Issue to Fund Downtown Redevelopment? This “heard on the street” is a lot more ambiguous than the Charter one. But, apparently some are talking about creating a bond issue to jump-start Downtown Raytown Redevelopment. Details are scarce. But this much is certain. IF such a bond package were crafted for Downtown Redevelopment purposes it would undoubtedly require a tax increase. Given the fact that the city is already on the hook for 23 years of a guaranteed tax increase and funding for the walmart gods on 350 Highway, I see it has a hard sell at best. Crisis, What Crisis? There is some fancy footwork going on at City Hall these days. The financial statements are looking pretty gloomy and, true to the course of past City Councils, the street overlay has been gutted to make up some of the shortfall. City officials are quick to point out that the money from street overlay is being used to pay off bonds used for street overlay -- leaving very little behind for the 2008 budget. Raytown voters recently voted to extend a sales tax for transportation purposes that was earmarked specifically for street overlay. It is true that the street overlay tax dollars are being used to payoff street overlay debt. But I wonder how many voters would have voted "yes" had the known that the street overlay would be nearly eliminated from the 2008 budget. Where is Garth Bare? One of the contributors to this blog has asked where is Garth Bare? For those who are unaware of who Garth Bare is (yes, he is still alive) – Garth was the co-editor of the Raytown Reporter. The Raytown Reporter has since been replaced by the Raytown Report – which you are now reading. As for Garth – I had not spoken to him for a while. So, I gave him a call. He is doing well. He is making plans to go to the City by the Bay, but not San Francisco. Instead, he is going to Oakland, California – which, Garth told me, “is a much nicer place than San Francisco.”

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, Greg.

This is Lee Gray. And I can tell you that it would be foolish to propose another Charter anytime soon.

I'd say...from serving on the last two charter commissions...that 10 years would be a good rule of thumb for even considering a charter.

Since I've indentified myself, please feel free to jump on me...those of you who enjoy your anonymous status.

Can't imagine what Garth would find of interest in Oakland...but more power to him.

In regards "overlay," I haven't always agreed with you, Greg, over the past 20 years, but I will say that you were focused on constituent services.

Cutting overlay now is just another "we need to send the public works director, city manager, etc." to another out-of-town vacation/convention.

One of these days even the Reaching for Tomorrow group is going to get tired of driving down crappy streets, over crumbling bridges, past weed-infested lots. Since I walk...I'd suggest codes look at The Late Rev. Calor's (River whatever) camp on Woodson...the thigh-highs in front of the strip center where Neptune's is...and the lot next to the Chinese place just over the Old Bridge going toward City Hall. (That lot is either the city's or the railroad's.)

Selective code enforcement has been a long-time standard in Raytown. Pick on the poor, regular folk and let the connected do what they want.

True to historical cycles...I came here and saw one of the dumbest city councils ever. And, now, 20 years later...history has repeated itself.

Oh, I know, I'm always "negative" and don't know anything. And, that too, is okay.

Hide and watch! And as far as ever paying another dime in tax for anything in this town...count me as a "no" vote until I see some accountability and response to taxpayer's/citizen's needs.

This town, like most others, is weighted in favor of highly-paid "professionals," who do little more than tell us how underpaid they are and how much more money they need.

The real city employees...the ones trying and doing the work...don't make ----. But the upper eschelon can ----away more money on their salries, benefits, trips, etc. than a street overlay program.

And, by the way, I'm still looking for the street cleaner to show up somewhere in Raytown!

Smile! See, I haven't lost my sense of humor!

Best wishes or kma to the readers here!

Lee

True Blue said...

Those who talk about selective code enforcement are right. Just look at that wonderful new housing addition known as Crescent Creek. Weeds are growing out of control, it looks like a dump. It's no wonder that they can't get anyone except Tim Truesdale to move into this neighborhood. He should be ashamed that he's not on top of keeping the codes enforced in his own neighborhood. I guess that's probably why code enforcement was taken away from him some years ago. HE WASN'T DOING HIS JOB. So what does this guy really do? Oh yes he's one of those that Mr. Gray talks about, big salary,but no real responsibility. The people that actually deliver the city services NEED MORE MONEY, while their bosses, and that includes Miller deserve LESS.

Pat Casady said...

New Charter huh?
I certainly hope not. But if there is I'm sure the only way it would ever pass would be simply stated: BUSINESS AS USUAL.
After all that's actually what the Wenson groups wanted, and you could print it on a single card.

The last Charter brought a lot of ugliness to Raytown.
The opponents to the Charter made up stories and slanted things to make the people believe it was a bad thing. The local paper was against it for oblivious reasons so
I can't see that it would be any better now or even in the distant future.

Anonymous said...

Andy, I just went back and read last weeks blog. Your comment about the city giving free tree away is incorrect. yes, the city Parks Dept. does has trees available to the public once a year but at a minimal cost usually about $25.00 depending on the type of tree. All or most of the trees are hardwoods so they don't brake as easily during ice storms. I have bought several of those trees over the years.

Just for your info.

Andy Whiteman said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for your info. I recall reading in the Raytown Post about tree planting week, usually once a year. It was my imptression that these trees were being given by some group. Sorry, that I was incorrect, but $25 is cheap for a decent size tree. I still wonder why donations are requested to buy a $25 tree?

Now I hear 2 opinions on hardwoods. When I was forced to move here. I hired a local tree person to trim trees before I moved in, specifically one limb that extended over the house. The expert neglected the limb over the house and told me that it was a hardwood and "never would break." I didn't believe him, but just told him that I didn't want a limb over my house.

Is Garth moving or vacationing to Oakland? It may be a nice place to vacation to, but before moving, he ought to really check it out. CA is a highly regulated state. Emmission controls require toxic substances in gasoline. (It is OK to pollute the ground and poison people, but not the air.) Property taxes are really high on vehicles. In 1984 there was a billboard on I-5 in San Diego that said, "Welcome to San Diego, now go home. My wife and I thought it was rude, but after we moved there, we discovered it really meant "You don't want to move here."

Anonymous said...

Greg, i have read your blog reports for a few months now and watched the channel meetings for years. I have decided to brake my vow to myself that I would only read not comment.

I am a person that believes that voting is a right that millions of people in this world do not have. I vote at every election city, state and federal because I believe that is my obligation as a citizen of this contry. I have a friend that believes that her vote doesn't count and won't change anything. She and I have had many discussions about that. Yes, we are still friends but I just quit talking about it. However, I have come to the conclusion that she may be right at least here in Raytown.

I was under the impression that our elected officals are suppose to listen to those of us who put them in their office. What has happened to those that we have put on the city council this time? I feel that they have lied to us during their campaigns just to get elected. Wow, I do sound like my friend. Now that they and I am including the mayor are in position on the council MOST ALL of the council dosen't listen to anything more. I am so disappointed with the people I voted for If I could I would take my votes back and I'm sure there are a lot of people who feel that way as well. I am beginning to feel the same way as my friend and that makes me very angery.

I would like to say thank you for trying so hard to let all of us out here to know the other side of the story. If it were not for you none of us would know anything other than the side that they (city) wants us to know. So THANK YOU once again for trying to give us the information we need to know.

You know it is a shame that we don't have the 2 year terms that we used to have. At least then we would have any opportunity to try to get them out of there. With this 4 year terms we could be in deep sh-- by then because we are on the way there now.

Anonymous said...

You are ever so correct about most of the elected city officials not listening to anyone. They think they have become God since they were elected and they know what is better for us than we do. They will never ask for a state audit to clean up the financial mess at city hall. We are all just a bunch of dummies and are supposed to take their word for it that everything is ok. So I would recommend Raytown taxpayers get ready to petition the state for this audit. They can't veto the petition process.

Anonymous said...

I heard some "on the street" info. but this came directly from someone within the Police Dept.. The city adminstrator Michael Miller wants to cut on the street officers because of our money short fall. What the hell is he thinking we have more problems now than we've had in a very long time because we are already short handed. why is it that our dept. heads who make the big bucks can't take a cut in salary for a couple of years. The shortage is only going to get worse when or if the Wal-mart developement comes to pass. By the way, that salary cut should also include those in commend of the Police Dept.

The city is not going to get anything from the Wal-mart Develpoment for many many years. If you ask the finance Director he will tell you that. With all of the Tax breaks and the new 1 cent CID sales tax that that will be add, 7/8 of which is going back to the developement ("Wal-Mart") the city will get nothing, we will only break even. By the way, only 1/8 cent of the 1 cent CID will go toward transportation. If you doubt any of this ask for a copy of the contract with Wal-mart.

Raytowner call your Alderman and tells them you don't want the cuts in the Police Dept. to happen, if anything they need to hire more officers. Call your neighbors and friends who live here and tell them to find out when the finance meeting are going to be held for this discussion. I have found out that the next Board of Alderman meeting is August 27th all of you need to be there to voice your opinion on this because if they do this it is going to directly effect all of our lives. All of these meeting are open to the public.

The city cut the police dept. several years ago under another city administrator and lost most of our seasoned police staff. It's is time that the BIG WIGGS take a hit this time instead of the ones who do all of the work. Those of us who are out here desever to know that our families are going to be safe.

I'll hopefully see you at those meetings. It is time that we start showing up at all of these meeting and so that the city council understands we are " MAD AS HELL AND WE WON'T TAKE IT ANY MORE."

Anonymous said...

Instead of cutting the police department, Miller needs to cut the dead weight at city hall. I can think of two examples and I'm sure there are more. Cut Tim Truesdale and that embarassment of a City Clerk. This would save a least 3 policeofficers. Maybe if Miller can't make the choices that the people want then MILLER SHOULD GO.

Anonymous said...

Good luck on getting your elected officials to listen as they will probably vote the opposite of what you tell them to do. Maybe that is the city's intent, to try to boost crime by cutting back the police force in an effort to create an even more blighted condition overall in hopes of attracting new business and developers looking for more TIF projects. No go on the charter, it wont happen. We need to clean house at city hall, trim the fat, get rid of the dead weight, before it is too late

Itellitlikeitis said...

A charter form of government would be good for Raytown, it would mean we could govern ourselves and not have to depend on the state legislature to dictate what we can or can't do as a city.

The last city charter proposal was a pretty darned good one. It even gave people the option to keep certain positions elected or to make them appointed if the citizens so desired; by posing that as a separate ballet question from the rest of the charter.

The RRFT crowd kept yelping, "keep it simple". Fact is it needed to have details spelled out; otherwise we would be totally at the mercy of the city government to do whatever they wanted, whenever they might want to do it, and however they wanted to do it.

It is true that the last administration (Mayor Frank, etc.) initiated the charter drive, but then turned around and opposed it when their “selected group” of people didn't dominate the Charter Commission. If they didn't control it, they didn't want it to happen. They even demonized it, put out false and misleading information, and openly campaigned against it after proposing it in the first place.

Andy Whiteman said...

If there really was a Board of Alderpeople meeting August 27th, it is one of those secret, unannounced meetings that I have been complaining about for almost a year.
****SECRET MEETINGS NEED TO STOP****

If it is true that Mr. Miller wants to cut the Police Department, he needs to be sworn in as an officer and start filling in on patrol! Does he live in Raytown or one of the upscale places they are trying to replicate Raytown into?

City Executives are overpaid compared to the workers. The cut should come from the top down, not the buttom up! I say, lets cut management salaries by at least 25% and put the money where it needs to be. If they don't like it, they will leave and they can be replaced by someone under them who thinks the 25% cut leaves a good salary.

Also the paid vacations at city expense (known as seminars, training, or whatever) should definately be cut. The Paramedics convention was something I feel was worthwhile, but when I went to the equivalent EMTAC(Emergency Medical Technicans Association of Colorado) seminar, everyone from our department who wanted to go went at their own expense.

I know certain people won't like my opinion, but I am paying their salaries as is every taxpayer. Where is our money going?

Andy Whiteman

Arnold the Benedict said...

Logomania--After watching the pitiful proceedings attending the city logo encomium, I see what Ross Perot meant when he charged incompetants of taking one year to do 10 minutes of work. The agonized deciders camae up with a doodle not worthy of a scond grader. "Reaching for Tomorrow" indeed, this in the absence of intellectual arms! picture it. A bumper sticker slogan as enligtening as "---t happens." the logo for a city in decline.
So the head Poopah sits with gavel in hand while 9 acolytes read their lilnes like bad actors in a bad play because, afterall, every dissenting voice has to be given its come-uppance with contempt and ridicule.
Frankly, I've seen better art after backing a bran stuffed Holstein to a barn door after a heavy clyster.
Arnold the Benedict

Pat Casady said...

Nothing, absolutely nothing will change in Raytown until everybody gets out and votes.
Until that happens the suck-up city groups will prevail and the citizens will continue to complain about the way things are handled.

Now is the time for the people to start looking for people to run for office. People that will listen and represent the wishes of the people, all the people.
I may be wrong with these figures, but I think I've heard that only a third of the voters in Raytown turn out to vote. This needs to change. After selecting the right person then, all of us that are writing here need to hit the streets and neighborhoods and promote the prospective runners. Until this happens nothing will ever change.

Anonymous said...

Pat, Only 22% of the registered voters voted in the last city election. Even with seven candidates for mayor 78% of the registered voters chose to vote for no one. Do you think a whole lot of people have given up on Raytown? Maybe a lot of these people were busy trying to sell their house and get the HELL out before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

Secret meetings? Missouri’s commitment to openness in government is clearly stated in Section 610.011 of the Sunshine Law: “It is the public policy of this state that meetings, records, votes, actions, and deliberations of public governmental bodies be open to the public unless otherwise provided by law. Sections 610.010 to 610.200 shall be liberally construed and their exceptions strictly construed to promote this public policy.”

Meeting Notices 610.020
At least 24 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) before a public meeting, the public body must prominently post a notice of the meeting in its principal office. If there is no such office, the public body should post the notice at the meeting place. The notice must include:

Time of meeting;
Date of meeting;Place of meeting;
Tentative agenda of an open meeting; and
Whether the meeting is open or closed.
If the public body intends to hold a meeting by conference call or other electronic means, the notice must specify the location where the public may observe and attend that meeting. If the public body meets via Internet or other computer link, it shall post a notice on its Web site in addition to posting the notice at its principal office.

If exceptional circumstances prevent the public body from posting notice 24 hours in advance or prevent the meeting from being held at a convenient time or in a place reasonably accessible to the public, the reasons should be stated in the meeting’s minutes.

Closed meetings and records 610.021, 610.022
A public governmental body is permitted, but not required, to close its meetings, records and votes when they relate to certain issues listed in Section 610.021. When a public body relies on one of these exceptions to close a meeting or record, it should bear in mind that the exceptions are to be read narrowly under Section 610.011. Matters that may be closed include:

Legal actions, causes of action or litigation (except that votes, minutes and settlement agreements must be opened to the public on final disposition, unless ordered closed by a court).
Leasing, purchase or sale of real estate where public knowledge might adversely affect the amount paid in the transaction.
Hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting a particular employee.
Welfare cases of identifiable individuals.
Software codes for electronic data processing.
Individually identifiable personnel records.
Records related to existing or proposed security systems.
Records that are protected from disclosure by other laws.
When a public governmental body votes to meet in closed session, members must cite in open session the specific statute and subsection allowing closure. Once in closed session, the public body may not discuss any matter beyond the scope of the stated reason for the closed session. The public governmental body must close only that portion of the facility necessary for its members to conduct the closed meeting, allowing space for the public to remain and attend any later open session.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to elections, I am sure that everyone has heard just about every available excuse why a person didnt vote especially when they complain about the outcomes of the elections. If parents dont vote, and their kids see this, they typically dont vote. I have heard of rigged elections, jury duty, my vote dosent count, I forgot, I was out of town, I was at work, etc.... they are all very lame excuses. If one sets it as a priority, then it gets done. Remember, people died fighting to ensure that you would have a right to vote so exercise that right and lose the excuses!

Anonymous said...

MR. Miller needs to go and go now!
How dare you Mr. Miller come to Raytown on a hugh salary, with almost unlimited out of town travel and other quirks and then justify this by cutting public safety. How dare you cut street overlay programs and other public services so you can be over compensated for what little you do.

Mayor Bower, if Mr Miller cannot make better choices in what to cut and Mr. Estes can't keep the books in order, then yes it is time to trim the fat and remove incompetence at City Hall.

Think about that Mr. Miller while you are on you next out of town little siminar compliments of the taxpayers of Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Bower needs to be paying a lot more attention to the highly paid people at city hall. You're a smart guy, Mayor so I can't believe that you haven't figured these guys out by now. All trips need to be canceled. You could be a hero by getting rid of some of this dead weight at city hall, Truesdale, Newton, and I'm sure there are more. Sign me: SAVE THE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Anonymous said...

I am sorry I gave you the wrong board of alderman date for the police vote. I person that gave me that date had the wrong date as well. The finance meeting is tonight 8-28-07 and the city council meetings are the first and third Tuesdays of the month.

I'm very sorry about the incorrect info.

Andy Whiteman said...

State law may only require 24 hours notice of meetings, but this is only 3 business days. 24 hours is not really sufficient notice unless it is an emeregency meeting.

Posting at City Hall clearly is not adequate. Is everyone supposed to go to city hall daily to check for notices? This is physically impossible. Can you imagine a constantally full parking lot and the traffic jam if everyone was at city hall looking for notices?

City Hall is not really a public building. It is only open 8-5 M-F which makes it unavailable to many people.

Also the public bulletin boards are blaced behind trash cans and newspaper vendors so they are not visible. I was discussing an outdoor bulletin board with Mayor Bower, but it may be too costly to install a secure, lighted board.

Maybe the letter of the law is being met, but this law allows secret meetings as I described above.

Public notice should require publishing in a legal newspaper. There is only one legal paper in this town and it publishes weekly on Wednesdays (with a Friday deadline).

The previous city attorney stated that 72 hours was required. I call your attention to the fact that 72 hours is 9 business days and would allow for sufficient publication.


I wonder why people complain about what the Alderpeople do or don't do, but they don't complain about lack of public notice? Maybe notice would be usless because the Alderpeople don't pay attention to what we say anyway!

Pat is correct, we need to present a slate of responsible canditates to the voters. If they don't vote, that is their problem. I sure hope I am not trapped in ths State of Misery when the next election comes around. I have been forced to live here 7 years and it is too long.

Andy Whitemen

Andy Whiteman said...

PS. If there was an 8/27 meeting, it was not posted. I am on the list to receive the agendas and I received no agenda.

Anonymous said...

Raytown ordinance used to require 72hrs. notice. 24 hrs. is the minimun required by state law. Might want to check with the city attorney and see if the 72 hr. requirement is still in place.

Anonymous said...

Lee, Lets make once of your statements clear, for the public that can't read between the lines. You said," we need to send the public works director, city manager, ect." to another out of town vacation/convention. You meant a permanent one didn't you? Oh my I hope that is what you meant.

Anonymous said...

Pretty funny (anonymous above).

A permenant vacation for them would be okay...but that wasn't the gish of my original comment.

--- Well wishes to all of you!
Lee Gray
PS. Nice to see that Arnold the Benedict is onboard. Clever!

Anonymous said...

How long has Tim Truesdale been in charge of community development - 5 or 6 years? Please enlighten me on surge in the development of businesses in the Raytown community for the past 5 years.

TT wants the city to be attractive. Sure, we all want that. But the demand that businesses meet strict design standards as far as color, how many windows and how big, signage, style of construction, lighting, landscaping, paving, etc is a burden to a new business.

Let's encourage businesses to come to Raytown, not scare them away. Don't make businesses jump through hoops.

Raytown is reaching for tomorrow - but how long until tomorrow gets here? Let's do something now!

A local business person was recently quoted in the paper that they had lived here for five years and they want to make Raytown a city where they want to live. That's a slap in the face for us that have lived here a long time. Why did he move to Raytown in the first place and not some place that he didn't have to change?

Cutting back on our fine police force is not the answer. Cutting back on trips, seminars and retreats by employees at City Hall is necessary. Let's hire some people at City Hall that actually love Raytown and it's history and community appeal and not someone that wants to make it into their own dream town.

Anonymous said...

Truesdale needs to go, he does nothing and has accomplished nothing for years. With his $90,000 salary we could save some of the policemen that Miller wants to cut.

Andy Whiteman said...

I kind of thought the meeting date may have been incorrect.

After hearing statements like, "I don't know, etc." regarding the budget at the Board of Alderman's meeting, I figured it was a lost cause.

One thing I really question is the city's cash flow situation? I paid my sewer bill and it took them a week to deposit my check! That is a poor business practice. Deposits should be made daily. Just think the city should be getting interest on this money. We aren't talking about just my $15. We are talking about all of the sewer and other payments. Are tax deposits handled in the same dilatory fashion?

I used to do the budget, mill levy, etc. for a fire district and my salary was $0 (ZERO). We didn't have the money to pay anyone. I am not suggesting that time be donated, but if $90,000 is the correct amount, the budget could be cut. $60,000 still sounds high to me compared to staff salaries.

If it is necessary to cut essential services, the cut should come from the top. Highly paid upper management salaries are not essential and could be cut unless they are under contract; otherwise, they can be cut when the contract expires. I have a feeling that those whom they supervise will gladly fill their jobs at a more resaonable salary.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy is right. Salaries need to be cut at the top. You can request a copy of all salaries of city hall employees. This is public record and I'm sure that most citizens would be suprised at what the city administrator and the department heads make compared to a police officer who puts his life on the line everyday. And don't forget to add on benifits, such as insurance, social security, etc. I have been told that this can add another 30 to 35% of their base salary. One depatrment head could even be eliminated to improve efficiency at city hall. Miller just wants to SPEND, SPEND AND THEN SPEND SOME MORE.

Greg Walters said...

In answer to the inquiries about Garth Bare.

He is going to Oakland, CA for an extended visit -- but tells me he will be returning to Raytown.

With apologies to "Where's Waldo", should we create a map of the U.S. and track where Garth goes?

Anonymous said...

We attended the finance meeting last night and the police dept. was one of the departments that presented their budgets. There was and will be on decision about the cut back until it comes back to the board of alderman. We MUST keep on them to leave our police, EMS and Street deparetments alone those are the most important depts. in the city.

I would like to thank those of you who came to the finance meeting last night in support of the Police Dept. Please continue to tell all of your friends and neighbors it is time to tell City Hall that we are "MAD AS HELL AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE" again, again, again and as often as we need to until they start listening.

We need to start coming to the BOA Mtgs. or watch it on TV and keep a record of how your alderman votes so that you know in the next election who you want to vote for. Whoever said now is the time to start looking for your next candidates is correct. Everybodys vote counts. So get involved and think for yourself and don't believe everything you hear out of city Hall. It is important that you do your own investgation if you have questions. I know that most people will not do these things because it's to much trouble they will leave it up to someone else to do the work for them. Try to keep up to date as much as possible. Keep in mind if you get your information from someone else you getting it second hand. Ask yourself is that REALLY what you want????

Anonymous said...

I know EMS is the best EMS in the state, but their overtime budget it 90,000.00 in the RED. It is time to rein them in to the black. We could add 2 additional EMT’s for that kind of money. What I also do not understand is why some days we have two paramedics on an ambulance, and other days we have a paramedic and an EMT. For those of you that do not know the difference an EMT make 10-12 thousand dollars a year less than a paramedic due to the level of their training. I do appreciate having paramedics but why pay more for a driver. If I call 911 and get an ambulance with one paramedic and an EMT do I get charged the same as the two paramedic ambulance? Why should not everyone enjoy the same level of service, I could honestly see a discrimination suit over this. The next item will be the tracking is that of racial profiling by two paramedic runs.
In addition I have been told the majority of the OT issue goes to the director. Why is he not salary? Every other department head is, the old director was, why is Mr. Cushman special? Between having consistent staffing procedures, and consistent department head pay, I would be willing to bet I can find the police cuts in the EMS budget.
Oh and don’t even get me started on the monster truck we bought him, it is disgusting to think if the excess when we are told there has been a 1,000,000.00 omission.

Anonymous said...

You keep forgetting Tim Truesdale. Name me one thing that he has done since he has been on the payroll for the city of Raytown. Oh, yes he has sat and watched as our small businesses have fled Raytown because of all the hoops that he wants them to jump through. At least Cushman is putting the time. But what does Truesdale do for his big salary?Sign me: I'VE JUST FOUND OVER $100,000 IN NEW REVENUE

Anonymous said...

While we are on the subject of cutting overpaid do nothings at City Hall, add Mr. Miller to the list.

My goodness, he hasn't been with the city, but for over a year and already he taken more out of town business trips than anyone can count.

I understand he has another out of state business trip planned for October. How nice for him.

You would think with all the money problems the city is having he would put his out of town travel on hold. But noooooo. Let's cut Police positions and let's cut street programs and let's cut other citizen services just so our brand new City Administrator can take his city paid for vacations.

Wake up Mr. Mayor. There is something very wrong with that picture.

Anonymous said...

To the person that is complaining about Matt Cushman and our EMS Dept. Mr. Cushman did ask to be put on salary when mr. Winson was here. Mr. cushman is a working director, that means that he goes out on the ambulances when no one else is available but his OT does not take away from anyone elses. I for one am happy to have a Director who is not afarid to get his hands dirty and is willing to do the same things that he asks his people to do. If the over time is the problem you can blame Mr. Winson. But before you believe what you here from city hall maybe you should have had the guts to ask Mr. Cushman himself.

As for the so called Monster Truck which I assume your are speaking about is the new Ambulance that was purchased to help the people of this city. That vehical was purchased with the funds that came from volunteers from his dept. that went to New Orleans after Katrina and worked for the federal goverment and the people of New Orleans. None of Raytowns money paid for them to go there the feds did. No shortages were felt here in Raytown either during the time they were gone. All shifts were covered with out problems. In addition to the ambulance being purchased with the money from New Orleans, Mr. Cushman's Dept. was able to put a new roof on the EMS building because it leaked very badly and had mold growning in the ceiling because of the water that sat in the insulation. He was able to put new garges doors on that building because often they would not work and could not be fixed. Maybe it's the SUV that that your are speaking of if so, the EMS have been getting hand me downs from the police dept. for ever and if it was necssary for Mr. Cushman to carry equipment a lot of it would not fit into the old hand me downs trunks. The New Orleans money Paid for that too. They should have been able to purchased a generator as well but I do not believe that they have done that yet. None of these things came out of your pocket or mine or anyone elses. Why shouldn't they have those things for their dept. they work under the most horrific conditions in order to help our neighbors to the south, did you?

Another thing you should know is Raytown's EMS Dept. Trains other Cities people and they ( Raytowns EMS) were just given an award for being the best EMS Dept. in the State Of Missouri. Better than any other city even the biggist ones.

You should be proud of the kind of people we have working for us in that dept.. Get your facts straight before you speak.

Sandy Hartwell

Anonymous said...

Before everyone goes ballistic about wanting to make cuts to ems, fire, or police they should consider at least one thing: Because of the quality of service that these departments have to offer, if they start cutting budgets to any of these, your own homeowners insurance rates could be at risk of increasing....some of the career politicians dont think about that. Get rid of Truesdale, Miller, and Estes... That will create extra hourly wages for the subordinates. Cut from the top down.

Anonymous said...

Nay, Greg. We don't need to track Waldo and find out where Waldo is.

It's at 75th and Wornell. smile Lee

Anonymous said...

Just checked in and Lee Gray is nuts! Put a GPS on Garth so we know where he is!

Sandy Hartman, while lovable, makes me wonder how EMS could operate without it's Big Dog and part of its crew while in New Orleans.

A little over staffing there, maybe?

Andy Whiteman said...

The GPS locators need to be put on the top executives on out of town business trips (AKA vacations).

When I was with AT&T I questioned the business trips pointing out that teleconferenceing was a service offered by AT&T. Since my 2nd level enjoyed his weekend vacations at company expense, he didn't appreciate my cost cutting suggestion.

I am glad that Sandy Hartwell explained and corrected the EMS comments. We have a quality EMS service here. I have called them several times and being a former EMT myself can vouch for their professionalism. The jurisdiction I was in was volunteer, with members buying much of their own equipment and supplies. We even used a borrowed 1930's ambulance until a new vehicle was donated.

Anyone who can get a donated vehicle, new roof, and new garage doors should get the citizen of the year award and/or the employee of the year award.

Those who are making the decisions need to understand that cutting Police, will not only cause insurance rates to go up; but it will also cause potential new businesses to reconsider if they really want to be in Raytown with a higher crime rate. There is a real possibility that criminal elements from other areas will target Raytown if the PD is cut. This cut will also cause homes not to sell and to lose value for the same reason.

If the police receives a cut, we will all have to start carrying our own guns and get a good Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Doberman, German Sheppard, or some other dog for security.

Did I see a previous comment about cutting Fire services? I believe the Fire Department is taxed seperately on my tax bill. It is my understanding that they are not controlled by the city.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

Guys,
Let's not forget (as the City Administrator has) the Police, EMS, Fire Department and our teachers are the most important services in our lives. Picture your lives without them. Yet they are the first to be punished with budget cuts when a city gets into financial trouble. Any financial trouble.
These people should be and are the best protection from what we all fear.
I just can't see the next EMS, Fire or Police emergency, calling the City Administrator for help, after and if we lose any of these good people or services.
Maybe he could send some of the high paid city management to help.

I don't care what these services cost it isn't enough. They are special people. Most risk their lives for us, even teachers are sometimes in dangerous situations.
What thanks do they get? Budget cuts!
We could do without some of City Hall's management easier than without even one of these people. Especially in this day and times.

Anonymous said...

Andy, no one is cutting the fire budget.... it was lumped together as a hypothetical scenerio, or a "what if" something happened to the police, fire, or ems budgets. Yes, I realize that fire has its own tax and governing board. Right on Pat!

Pat Casady said...

I left out another city service that is important to all of us, and that's the guys that work as city maintenance people. The guys that get their hands dirty so we don't have to.
The guys that work outside no matter how hot or cold it is or how late into the night they work to keep our streets snow free. Again these are citizen support people that we couldn't do without.
To them I apologize for leaving them out of my above post.

Anonymous said...

Miller and all department heads need to have their salaries frozen until this financial crisis is resolved, even if it takes more than one budget year. Also all travel for these people should be canceled immediately. Sign me: SAVE THE EMS AND THE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Anonymous said...

New Orleans volunteers from EMS:

There was a team of 2 that went to New Orleans and when one team came home another team of 2 went down. No overstaffing and No additional personnel was hired. No Raytown residents were shorted any services during this period. Why is it that you can't seem to say anything good about this dept. ?I'm beginning to think that you probably work for the Post

Sandy Hartwell

Pat Casady said...

Sandy,
I don't think you are understanding what we are meaning here.
As far as I have read we are saying good things about the EMT's, Police....etc.
Other than the misunderstanding of what Mr. Cushman does, and I think that has been set straight now.
Or maybe I missed something.

The whole complaint as I see it is, too much pay in City Hall and too little support from City Hall for the services i.e. EMS, Police...etc.

Andy Whiteman said...

Does Mr. Miller live in Raytown? If he does, and cuts the budget to the Police, what will happen when Mr. Miller has an emergency and calls 911 with no officer available to respond because HE cut the budget?

With his budget cuts, I expect to see Mr. Miller responding to Police calls in the middle of the night. Also during the next blizzard, I expect to see him driving a snow plow all night! Someone needs to do all this work. HE and others get big $$$$$ for wearing a suit and taking city paid business trips (aka vacations at taxpayer expense.)

Again, the cuts should come from the top down!

Andy Whiteman

True Blue said...

Does anyone know what percent of our city budget goes to salaries vs. actual programs, like overlay, storm sewers, things that we can see? This would be interesting. I bet more goes to salaries, especially at the top than anything else.

Anonymous said...

My number crunching is probably not perfect, but taking figures from FY2006 actual, they started out with 17,320,907.00 total resources, of that amount 7,786,389.44 went toward personnel total which they do not say what part of this number is for salaried personnel or for hourly personnel, which yields a percentage of 44.95%. However, they do break personnel costs down to the departmental level. They have this information available on the city's website in an adobe file of the proposed FY2008 city budget if interested.

Salamander said...

A friendly reminder from the Salamander.Friday, August 31 marks the end of another month. This neans your city treasurer will be writing another check for $2200.00 to pay the interest due on the debt owed for the purchase of the former Baptist Church, also known as "Sue Frank's Folly."

Here's a suggestion for the city:
Turn the structure into a House of Horrors during the upcoming Halloween dseason.

A move such as this would help recoup some of the tax dollars being squandered paying just the interest on this white elephant.

From what's on the street I understand the inside of the building is in such bad shape it would require very little renovation to make it a true house
of horrors.

Sturdley said...

Read this week's post editorials. It is somewhat refreshing to see some things never change.

I'm referring to Bob Phillips. Burned brain Bob had another column about his favorite whipping boy, Alderman Greg Walters.

What was unique about this chargeat an individual I consider the only board member who isn't at
least one brick shy of a load is this:

For the first time in memory Burned (or is it burned out) Bob didn't begin his attack with the usual verbal garbage how "he really admirede Greg; considered him a friend and most certainly did not want anything he said to be taken personally.

What a crock of nothing, BB. Your contempt and disdain about anyone, and I do mean anyone, who disagrees with you is id legendary in the city.

What is most troubling is that any self respecting newspaper punlisher who would allow his editor to run amuck expects his readers to hold him in anything but contempt. I thought we might have a change when Randy Battagler left the scene but this does not appear to be thecase.

Anonymous said...

Burned brain Bob, I like that. Then there's silly old Christine White. What an asset she is to this rag. I too thought the Post might change once we got rid of the crappy sort of journalism that Battagler spewed. If you look at it's size and the ads it probably won't be around much longer. Too bad they can't get Lee Gray back, that's when this town had a real newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Mark your calendars for the first and third Tuesdays for city council meetings and and second and fourth Tuesdays for commitee meetings at city hall. If you can't come to city hall watch the meetings on channel 7. Get a pencil and paper and start taking notes on what council person voted for what issue and what city offical was for what. Ask questions!! Then when election time comes you won't be fooled by a bunch of fancy mailings full of lies. You also tell everyone you know how these a holes voted and what stupid mistakes they made. Let's make a differance at the polls in April. As for me, Mrs. Schlapia I won't be fooled by a bunch of fancy mailings full of lies and a bag of popcorn. We can't depend on the council to give us the correct information and to represent us as we wish to be represented so let's get the information ourselves and make the CORRECT decision when it comes time to vote.

Pat Casady said...

I've been saying that for over nine years. Write down what officials say and do during their term then you can remember it come election time.
I hope it will work this time.
Also remember if the right people are elected we could have the real city logo back, among other wrongs righted.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading through all the stuff on these pages. Pat Casady, whoever you are, you are a witty man. I especially enjoyed the one where you wrote you had sent the City of Liberty a thank you note for hiring Curt Wenson away from Raytown.

Folks I know up north tell me that Curt has gotten into some hot water over his dreams of trying to build on every bit of green space up there.

Seems like some folks never learn!

Pat Casady said...

I must admit I hadn't read Bob's article about Greg. Isn't it sad that a representative that really represents what his ward wishes is put down in the city ruled paper.

I noted that Bob said that Greg seems to find joy in always going counter to what his peers want.
That is not what an alderman or representative does! He doesn't have to make "his peers" happy he does what the people in his ward wish him to do.
As I see it, the other nine haven't done that much for the people, but as Bob says what his peers want and believe to be right. That's the problem with this town. They do what they want not what they were elected to do.....REPRESENT THE PEOPLE!

Anonymous said...

Again, it is just another continuation of the good ol boys and girls socialite club... the BOA that is...THEY DO WHAT THEY WANT and WHAT THEY THINK IS BEST instead of REPRESENT US AND VOTE AS THE PEOPLE WOULD THAT THEY REPRESENT....business as usual at 10000 E 59th Street....

Anonymous said...

That's the problem with nine of the ten aldermen and the mayor. They have all forgotten that they were elected to listen to and then vote the wishes of their people. Once they get elected it's like they have this super intellingence and they vote what's appears to be best for them instead of their people. If you don't believe me just look at who is financing their campaigns for office. Have they ever heard of a conflict of interest?

Anonymous said...

No, they havent. And they dont have guilty consciences either.

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody.

I think Raytown is fabulous. With leadership llike Jack Nesbitt and then the lovely and vivacious Sue Frank how can go wrong?

Sure there have been some speed bumps along the way -- but what the heck.

Our city officials know what they are about. Such clever guys and gals. They probably have it planned to let the old first bapbtist church to rot on its foundatin and fall down on its own.

Anonymous said...

This is Lee Gray...and I appreciate one of the anonymous's comments above about Raytown having a real newspaper during my 16-year tenure as editor & publisher.

I got better and fairer as I got older...and being older, I can tell you I'm not really interested in reviving that part of my life. But one never knows as there are legal issues still being mulled over.

I would like to thank Raytown Tribune editor Mark Johnson and Ms. Kearney for the lengthy amount of obituary information they printed this week regards my father Oren L. Gray Sr. With me being the only local hook, I was surprised as how generous they were with their space...especially since I was such a fierce competitor of theirs for so many years.
Very kind and thoughtful...and I wanted the rest of you to know.

I didn't even bother to submit anything to the Post since they cut off my letters to the editor voice half-way thru the charter process and later edited a letter to the editor down to nothing, followed by an editor's note berating me and a response from the subject of my letter which was not in step with the information I provided.

Oh well... I think most of us have figured out what's going on there the past five years.

The KC Star wanted $66 for nine lines of obit...and I just laughed about that. At 97 there probably aren't a lot of Pop's contemporaires around to read his obit. But he was a pretty renown politician in Kansas, turning down appointment as state attorney general in 1956. He served over 30 years in elective office ... but guess 'news' just isn't what it used to be.

I'm enjoying all of your thoughts. It's good to have an open forum for informed Raytowners. We'll have to do more than talk ... but there are excellent ideas here for straighting out the foolishness that passes as government and media in this town!

Best wishes/Lee Gray

PS.Greg...one of your Walters for Mayor pads went into my Dad's coffin so he can keep score on his "future" gin rummy games.

Anonymous said...

Sandy, I could not help but respond to your gushing about EMS and Mr Cushman. First I have read every post and I could not find anywhere that he was attacked. I am assuming you were responding to the first post because of your answers, however I caution you in using the word fact. A fact is something that can be confirmed by two or more independent sources and I think you will have trouble with some of yours. First Mr. Cushman is a fine man, does a lot for the city, and might be able to walk on water I personally do not know but I will assume you are right. However you cannot speak of fiscal responsibility with out questioning being 80,000.00 over budget just for overtime. This is over budget, how much was the budget? With all of Mr. Cushman’s attributes does he really deserve to make more than the chief of police? Mr. Cushman is responsible for what 10 employees, that chief has more than that on one shift. Sandy as far as all the money from New Orleans is concerned I have to take the moral ground here and rain on your parade. The following are best guesses but I think they are fair
New Ambulance $125,000.00 equipped
New SUV $40,000.00 equipped
New Roof $50,000.00 for a 7 year old metal barn?
New Doors $30,000.00 6@$5,000. for a seven year old barn
Mold removal $10,000.00 for a 7 year old barn
Generator $45,000.00 to power the 7 year old barn
Total $300,000.00
But there’s more
Payrole for Two $15,000.00 $3,000 a week times five weeks
Ambulance fee $25,000.00 $5,000 a week times five weeks
Grand total of $340,000.00 This is money the hard working people paid in taxes.

I know it was federal money, but it is still wrong to turn a profit with blood money. I checked and Independence also sent their EMS however they only billed for their expenses. This is the policy of AMR a private company that runs their ambulance.
As for the ambulance Sandy when you campaigned for the transportation tax you said it would fund an ambulance replacement policy? If this were true where did that money go. I say audit, audit, audit, Yes EMS is a great service and they have a heck of a chief. But, I should not have to remind a former alderwoman that you still need to be fiscally responsible. Even if it means reining in the spending of the finest man you know. P.S. how many street lights would have 340,000.00 bought?

Anonymous said...

I'm not taking sides between the Police Department and the EMS, but I do agree with one thing we DO NEED a state audit and the sooner the better. Mayor and aldermen are you listening?

Anonymous said...

I do not know what an ambulance cost but I bet it is a lot. Mr Walters can you find out how close those numbers are to the truth. I know when we had our ice storm my neighbor had a MAST ambulance come to her aid. I am glad they did not take advantage of her during our version of Katrina. If anonymous is accurate I cannot believe we have not made an episode of the fleecing of America.

Andy Whiteman said...

Lee Gray,

Sorry to hear of your loss. I don't get the Tribune so just learned in your post tonight.

By the way, I learned the hard way obituaries are NOT considered news. They are money making items! There should be an exception for someone with your father's service. When my wife was murdered, both the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post charged $1 per word per day (this was more than they charge for classifieds); however, they would publish a free short obit when they got around to it. I believe the KC Red Star does the same.
*********************************
Price of an ambulance:
I bought one about 35 years ago. At that time the one we picked cost about $9,000. There is no standard price. It depends on your specs and exactly what is needed. Buying an ambulance is not as simple as going to a car lot and picking one. Those writing the specs get very specific such as chasis type, access from driver to patient area, 2 batteries with a switch to select 1, both, or batteries off, heater for the rear, a/c for the rear, etc. There is more than the cost of of the vehicle. In addition to the cost of the ambulance there is equipment such as the radio, medical equipment and supplies.

You will see ambulances in EMT and Paramedic magazines. It would be necessary to call a manufacturer for prices. Unless you have the specs, you are really comparing apples and oranges.

It is similiar to asking what a car or truck costs. What does one cost? No one can answer that because they don't know your specs.

If anyone wonders what a fire truck costs, the answer is the same: They are usually custom built according to specs.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

I hope everyone here intends to go the the Board of Alderpeople meeting Tuesday and make an issue about the alledged budget cuts stated in this Raytown Report as well as money being wasted on out of town trips (vacations) for upper management.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I would like to go the meeting, but have to work. If anyone is to go please comment on Mr. Miller's extensive out-of-town travel and why he feels it is necessary to cut Police Department programs and other city services instead of cutting his out-of-town travel (vacation). If this is the way Mr. Miller views his importance over services to the citizens of Raytown, then the citizens of Raytown need to voice that Mr. Miller should be removed as City Administrator.

Anonymous said...

Silly people...
I have got to say picking on Mr Cushman and EMS is a bit of a stetch. Afterall, if you get your facts correct, Mr. Cushman works 120-150 hours every two weeks, compared to the rest of the folks up at the hall with their 40 hour work weeks, including the police chief. He works as the Director and also on the ambulance. That covers two positions with one person. In addition, the best guesses by the anonymous poster were way off (WAY OFF)
The EMS people are great and like our PD department, they are both diamonds in the rough if you will. The EMS department's overtime issues were, according to the board meeting a month ago was a result of several injuries. I assume that the ambulances must always be covered by someone, so overtime is paid out. And, yes, the ambulance replacement is out of the sales tax fund. Mrs. Hartwell was right with alot of her comments and a lot of good came from helping during Kartina. The EMS were paid, by contract, like other agencies. Some agencies I would assume did not cover their costs. MAST and yes, Independence, made more than their costs. In fact AMR national was the main contracting company that made millions. Yes, I think the issue with profits in this tragedy is unsettling, but picking on our EMS is just a bit unfair. What they did was tremendous and we should be very proud of them for taking the inititive. It is no wonder why they are the best in the state of MO.
The police and EMS and Fire Departments and Mr. Lynch, Mr. Cushman, and Mr. Mawhirter are all great people leading great public servants. In this town they all work hard with what they are given. Let us remember that and be thankful. I am. There are far more bigger targets to take shots at than these fine people. That much we can all agree on.

Oh, Lee... my sympathy goes out to you and your family.

You can sign me as a PUBLIC SAFETY SUPPORTER TOO!!!