Sunday, November 20, 2011





"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."

Happy Thanksgiving from Greg and Paul





. . . BREAKING NEWS . . .

Matt Cushman, Raytown's Director of EMS Operations turned in his resignation last Friday. His resignation is the third this year from the City's Management Team of Directors and Department Heads. Mr. Cushman was employed by the City of Raytown for 17 years. He told the Raytown Report that it was time to move on and that he had some opportunities he wished to explore.

News Updates . . . by Greg Walters

IT has been one month since Raytown Road between Downtown Raytown and 350 Highway  was resurfaced. Many readers will recall that the job looked nice but had a serious flaw. The manhole covers and water company covers to sewer and water lines had not been raised before the work was begun. The result is a bumpy ride for anyone who travels over that section of Raytown Road.

We checked with the city's Public Works Director, Any Noll, ab0ut the timeline of the project. He said that the hardware needed to raise the covers of the manholes should arrive soon and that he anticipates the project completed within two weeks. 

He also told us that the city is working in conjunction with the water companies that have lines under the streets so that  the job can be completed without too much disruption of traffic.
____________________

Style changes are inevitable in any publication. The Raytown Report is no exception. We realize the Paul Livius Report can be a long "read" for many of our busy readers. For those who are in the habit of skimming large articles we have taken the liberty of highlighting in bold face those comments we found interesting or unusual. It will be our practice to note these sections of the Paul Livius Report without comment.

We have broken the Paul Livius Report into two sections this week. One dealing with a topic that will undoubtedly affect us all this winter, snow removal. The other with Paul's regular report on the last City Council meeting. 

Paul Livius
The Paul Livius Report by Paul Livius
Work Session 1-15-11 
Winter Weather Operations / Snow Removal

Before winter weather sets in, the Public Works Department reviews policies and procedures, reviews the snow routes, performs preventative maintenance on all snow removal equipment, and fill the salt barn.  The Public Works Department uses passive GPS system to track the trucks.   

They also review the snow removal maps.  During winter weather, the Public Works Department will determine if 24 hour operations will be needed.  If conditions change, the Raytown Police Department can call the Public Works Department to assess street conditions. The Public Works Department will give priority to street conditions reported by the Police, Fire, or EMS departments.  Streets will be cleared according to the following maps.




The goal is to have all streets cleared in 36 hours.  The Public Works Department will also clear the parking lot at City Hall and the EMS station.  Andy Noll explained the Public Works Department considers an event to be freezing rain and sleet, as well as snow.  Some challenges facing the Public Works Department are stuck vehicles and parked cars.   

The Public Works Department asks citizens to be patient, prioritize vehicles trips, and do not park on the street. The Public Works Department recommends shoveling our driveways to the right.  They also recommend we shovel out two feet past the driveway, and an area of 2’ x 24’ to the right of the driveway in the street to prevent the plows from leaving large amounts of snow blocking the driveway.   

Citizens can contact the Public Works Department at 737-6012, or 737-6064 after hours.  The Public Works Department will post weather information on the city’s website.            

Alderman Ertz asked why the city uses passive GPS.  Mr. Noll explained the passive GPS system allows the city to now where the trucks have been.  For example, if a landscaper with a plow clears a parking lot and causes damage, the city will know if their trucks caused the damage.  Also, “there have been times when we have employees who don’t live in the city that we needed here.  We went to get them, and plowed them out of their neighborhoods, and brought them here.”
             
Alderman Mock asked what happened to the snow when the Public Works Department hauled it away from parking lots.  Mr. Noll said they dumped it in the Green Space.
             
Mayor Bower asked about the difficulty in plowing cul-de-sacs.  Mr. Noll said it was a challenge because of the open areas and fewer curbs.
            
Alderman Aziere said if citizens had difficulty shoveling snow from in front of their driveways after the plows have been through, they can call the Shepherds Center for help at 356-9000.

Consent Agendas Not in the Public's Best Interest by Greg Walters


CONSENT AGENDA. The term brings up images of everyone happily holding hands as they go about the routine business of governing. When originally used at Raytown City Hall, the Consent Agenda was meant to be used exclusively for the mundane types of business, such as appointments to citizen boards, resolutions recognizing community accomplishments, etc. Under the David Bower administration, the consent agenda has been morphed into a tool by which the minority is effectively silenced and the majority creates of facade of business as usual. 

Two weeks ago the facade was cracked and came tumbling down when Ward 4 Alderman Bill VanBuskirk gained acceptance from the majority of the Board in his effort to remove select items from the consent agenda. Three aldermen (White, Pardue and Aziere) fought VanBuskirk over a request to remove certain items from the Consent Agenda. Thankfully, calmer minds on the City Council prevailed when Aldermen allowed the items to be removed.

VanBuskirk specifically asked that certain money/contract items be read for the public's information. 

We are glad he did. Here is why.

Supporters of the Consent Agenda argue that all of these items have already been approved in the City Budget. Therefore, the discussion is over -- the decision has been made. That may be true, but that does not mean that all involved approved of the Budget Committee's decision. What was a valid argument against the decision in the budget process remains a valid argument until the entire City Council signs off on the legislation approving the contract/money spent. 

That is state law. And every one of the ten Aldermen sitting at Raytown City Hall should be well aware of it. 

The reason is simple for this final vote. Budget meetings are not always well attended. In fact, one of the Aldermen who argued most vehemently against VanBuskirk's request (Ward 1 Alderman Shane Pardue) was absent at many of the budget hearings. In light of that information, Pardue's arguments should be ignored. 

The people in Raytown have a right to know about the details of all legislation. Telling people they can look it up on the internet, or pay for a copy of legislation at City Hall is not really public access. They are roadblocks to the free flow of information.

Alderman VanBuskirk did the right thing in asking that certain items be removed from the Consent Agenda. And we applaud those on the City Council who supported  his suggestion. At the same time, we question the ability of the entire Council to effectively "block" a request by any one Alderman to remove an item from the Consent Agenda.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In the Paul Livius Report we highlighted those items in the Consent Agenda we believe should have been read for the public's information. 

The Paul Livius Report (part 2) by Paul Livius
Board of Alderman Meeting / 1-15-11

The Invocation was given by Larry Jones, of the First Baptist Church of Raytown.
Chief Jim Lynch swore in Officer Scott Gillespie.

  • Steve Gunther said the Raytown Main Street Association is in the process of putting together information about what businesses and residents want in downtown Raytown.  Street Scape and regional mass transit through the downtown project will make a dramatic impact.  Light rail will create economic growth and Street Scape will allow a vision and help celebrate our community.  One can tell a lot about a town by their downtown area.
  • Andy Whiteman asked why Kansas City has a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, and Raytown has a Holiday Lighting Ceremony.  What is wrong with Raytown that they can’t have a Christmas Lighting?  He also stated that the consent agenda is supposed to be for routine items.  The consent agenda items that spent over $15,000 each last week was not routine.  Alderman White had stated it appeared on the budget and was discussed in committee.  Also, it was on the internet.  She also said they would lose the TV audience if these items were discussed individually.  He asked if she was watching the advertising budget or TV ratings.  He said they spent more time arguing whether or not to read the items than if they had just read and voted on them.  He asked why they were covering up their expenditures.  Under the American Disabilities Act, he was entitled to ask for city communications be presented in writing and verbal.  He was therefore demanding they be presented verbally.
  • Vicki Turnbow, with the Raytown Chamber of Commerce, reported the annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony will be Friday, December 2 at 6:00 pm in downtown Raytown.  She invited everyone attend and enjoy the festivities.
    Mayor Bower urged all residents to shop in Raytown.  Shoppers can also purchase gift cards for Raytown shops. Mahesh Sharma reported the new energy efficient street lights have been installed in front of City Hall  They will evaluate the lights to determine their efficiency.
Within the Consent Agenda:
  • The Board approved a resolution to reappoint George Mitchell to the Raytown Park Board.
  • The Board approved a resolution to reappoint Clifford Sargeon to the Human Relations Commission.
  • The Board approved a resolution to reappoint Bill Williams to the Human Relations Commission.
  • The Board approved a resolution to appoint George Koepp to the Tax Increment Financing Commission.
  • The Board approved a resolution approving the expenditure of funds with Commenco, Inc. It is in excess of $15,000, but within budget.
  • The Board approved a continued agreement for inmate security housing services with Johnson County, Mo Sheriff’s Office.  It is in excess of $15,000, but within budget.
  • The Board approved the expenditure of funds with MDL Technology, LLC for Information Technology related services.  It is in excess of $15,000, but within budget.
During the regular legislative agenda:
  • The Board approved a resolution for expenditure of funds with AT&T Mobility for cellular and wireless services. It is in excess of $15,000, but within budget.
  • The Board approved a resolution accepting a Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety Crash Reduction/Hazardous Moving Enforcement grant in the amount of $8,500.
  • The Board approved a resolution for the reappropriation of funds received from the administration of a “Secure our Schools” grant from the US Department of Justice for security improvements for the Raytown School District.  It will be approximately $150,354.
  • The Board approved a resolution approving change order #2 to the agreement with R.L. Phillips Construction Company for the Public Works Renovations project.  This is to authorize the final payment of $623,020.53.
  • The Board approved a resolution approving additional payments to Incite Design Studio, LLC for design services for the Public Works Renovations project.  The amount will not exceed $3,000.
  • The Board approved a resolution approving change order #1 with Superior Bowen Asphalt Company for the 2011 Asphalt Overlay project.  They also approved the final payment in the amount of $496,569.46.  The aldermen asked why the payment was $11,000 over budget.  Andy Noll said the 2” overlay cost more, the striping changed because they used bike path markings, and they striped in front of the EMS building.
  • The Board approved a resolution authorizing the final payment for the 63rd Street Bridge project in the amount of $15,800.
  • The Board approved a resolution approving the expenditure of funds to Willey Disposal from the 2011 Annual Clean-Up Day.
  • The Board approved a resolution approving professional services agreement with Confluence for the design of the central business district Streetscape not to exceed $205,755.
  • The Board heard the second reading of the Ordinance regarding disorderly conduct and resisting or interfering with arrest.
  • The Board heard the first reading of an Ordinance approving an interlocal agreement between Kansas City, MO and Raytown for permitting and inspection of services related to Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
The Board then moved into a closed session to discuss the hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting of particular employees by a public governmental body when personal information relating to the performance or merit of an individual employee is discussed or recorded; and/or individually identifiable personnel records, performance ratings or records pertaining to employees or applicants for employment.

A Wonder Woman You Should Know by Tish Merritt
You never find the book; the book finds you. That’s my philosophy anyways. One day I was driving to work when I heard an NPR story about a gal named Babe Didrikson Zaharias who had made ESPN’s top 10 athletes list OF ALL TIME. She was the only woman in the top 10. I was immediately intrigued and went to work and Googled her.... Continue reading


COMMUNITY BILLBOARD
Rice-Tremonti Home welcomes you to "Puttin' on the Glitz", Holiday Open House and Country Store - December 3rd through December 18th. Open House hours 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  -- Santa visits 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. -- Twilight Tours: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays, December 8, 10 and 17. Adult Admission - $4.00. Children under 12 are free. Complimentary cider, coffee and cookies will be served.
For more information go to http://www.rice-tremonti.com/


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30 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

Greg, thank you for bold face typing the more important items.

Andy Noll is quoted as saying about storm removal, "Also, “there have been times when we have employees who don’t live in the city that we needed here. We went to get them, and plowed them out of their neighborhoods, and brought them here.”"

I wonder which employees? Are they department heads or regular workers? In either case if Raytown had a residency requirement, snow removal equipment would remain in Raytown and clear ONLY Raytown streets.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

Come on Andy,
Do you really think this city would send
someone after an hourly paid employee?
It's been a long time practice of this
city to take care of it's elected officials
and department heads. Just as the department
heads get their raises, the hourly employees
don't see much if any raise at all.
Just like certain aldermen and codes inspectors
homes don't quit obey the city codes but, who's
going to say anything?

Anonymous said...

I've thought about the residency of city officials for a few years now. I have tried to see it from all sides. I have come to the conclusion that I have no respect for a mayor who won't live in the city he supposedly represents. I also have no respect for the aldermen who won't force him to.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat, You are correct, I made the same assumption but I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt.

7:54 AM, The mayor lives in Raytown.

Now for those who complain about holiday openings:

Seaport Village is open daily from 10 am - 9 pm (10 am - 10 pm June thru August).

Seaport Village will be open Christmas Eve & Christmas Day 10 am – 6 pm

Seaport Village is located at West Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway, adjacent to Embarcadero Park North. For more information go to www.seaportvillage.com or call 619-235-4014.

And this isn't the first year they have done this. I shocked me! They wouldn't get my business that day mainly because I don't have money to spend and also I don't go out that early.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The story I hear is that Mr. Cushman was forced out. One of those resign or we will fire you type of deals.

I always thought he was a good guy doing a good job.

Andy Whiteman said...

I am sorry to hear Matt Cushman is leaving. In my opinion he did an excellent job of managing EMS!

7:10PM, I would like to hear more details if someone will sign their name. Otherwise it may not be reliable. I guess I am different. Under those circumstances, I would let them fire me, collect unemployment, and possibly sue for wrongful termination.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

It seems the question needs to be is why are all of the department heads leaving.

Could it be they like many of us citizens are just tired of the mayors outbursts.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the exodus of three of the city's department heads in less than six months is sign of trouble or overdue housecleaning.

Unless there has been some wrongdoing I would say it is a sign of turmoil and an unhealthy situation at city hall.

City hall should enlighten us as to what is going on.

The last time we had so many of the management team leaving was when Curt Wenson and company jumped ship.

The downward spiral of Sue Frank followed.

I hope we are not seeing city hall repeat its history.

Anonymous said...

The mayor should be please that with Cushman steping down he can now have all of the non-elected department heads living outside of Raytown.

I hope when that happens our EMS service doesn't go to hell like or streets have from having someone manage them that doesn't live in Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Andy,

I have great news for you. This Thursday night Slick Willy's will be open starting at 5:00 PM.

This will give you a chance to get out on a Holiday without traveling far from the home.

I understand the kitchen is not open, but I am sure they will have many wonderful drinks to warm you up.

What a great way to celebrate the holidays with freinds

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Neal Clevenger and his water company are the poeple who have left Elm down around 68 Ter a mess.

Where is the codes department, public works or even the police department and why does the city keep letting this one utility make our city streets look like this.

Shame on all of you for allowing this

Andy Whiteman said...

9:05 AM, Thanks for the info, but I am allergic to alcohol. Gas Light Grille is serving until 7PM and they serve FOOD!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Looks like KC, MO wasted $72,000+ on the "investigation" of the judge. The commission ruled they were wrong to investigate and the Judge should be re-instated and payed all back pay due. Priorities people, priorities.

Paul Livius said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Raytown Report readers. Here's hoping the upcoming Holiday season is special for you and your families.

Salamander said...

Let’s talk about security.

Everyone likes to believe that when they retire a nest egg of a few bucks relaxes the mind and makes you feel better.

Look no further than your government if you want security.

The KC Star recently carried an item from Bloomberg News; it told how former KC Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig keeps his money in U.S. Government bonds.

All Well and Good. What Mr. Hoenig does with his money is his own business.

But how he comes across it is something else.

Here is what Bloomberg reported:

Hoenig was president of the KC Federal Reserve Bank for 20 years. His salary was a mere pittance: $380,000.00 a year. His pension is – this is right out of the report -- $21,980.00 per MONTH.

Not bad for someone who presided over one of the most redundant government groups in the nation – a group instrumental in causing our current recession.

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors meets about 8 times a year.

Usually they go to esoteric resorts such as the Hamptons, Jackson Hole, Wyoming or The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. No. This super group never meets in places such as Fargo, ND or Duluth, MN. It has to be a resort. Typical government, spend and spend when it’s someone else’s money.

Those types of playhouses are not conducive to accomplishing anything of note.

Ron Paul is right. We have a U.S. Treasury. We most certainly do not need a Federal Reserve System.

Anonymous said...

My hair might now be gray and I might not move as fast, but my memory still does last.

It was not that many decades ago that those in leadership at city hall forced a young officer to resign. Many knew of the injustice that was served that day and so they joined together to raise this man to power as one of our finest chiefs of police that has ever served us a day.

It seems that our outsider who is now mayor might not know the history that lays here or again needs to be told. For when injustice happen here in our home town those of us who are the original Raytowners do not like clown politicians messing with our town. It seems with Mr. Cushman’s resignation the time is once again here for us to send a message to city hall that it is time we elect a new mayor.

Mr. Cushman, ties here are quite long and he has seen all that is wrong at city hall. So let us join together let us celebrate the end of Bower and brighter days.

Andy Whiteman said...

I wish all a happy Thanksgiving.

Wasted 8 Million Dollars said...

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Anonymous said...

Apparently you only read the headline and not the story. The judge owned a home, maintained a home, had guests at her home, entertained at her home in Kansas City. The charges of only working 30 hours a week were false as well.

Compare that to Raytown where there is not even a pretense of ANY department head living within the city. Do you really believe that there is more pride in someone who is a carpetbagger vs. someone who lives within the city?

Unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

That blogger who believes our EMT director was fired because of personal conduct should open his eyes.

So the man had a personal life. What’s the big problem with that?

How come we didn’t hear from all you moralists when Bill Clinton was in the White House? He was caught fooling around with an intern and most people on the liberal side made excuses for his depraved behavior.

We all remember, Bill Clinton, don’t we? When caught he claimed he was so talented and disciplined that he had ability to compartmentalize his actions.

Bill Clinton actually rationalized what he did in private life had no effect on his public life.

Most of the dummies – especially the Democrats – believed him.

Sad to say, most Democrats are still backing Clinton.

What a conglomeration of misguided dummies.

Throw ‘Em All Out

Andy Whiteman said...

When Clinton had sex in the oval office, he certainly wasn't wasn't on his own personal time. He allegedly was conducting business as the President of the Unite States of America. I consider what he did not only immoral by most importantly it was abuse of power.

If he was a CEO in the private sector, he would be fired and fined for sexual harassment.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Mr Cushhman is untitled to a personal life, heck even encourage him to do so, but when he brings it to work and the tax payer is compensating these activities then he should go. Need I remind you that he has been one of the highest grossing city employees for the past four years running.

Anonymous said...

Andy,

Do you really believe they fire CEOs for not keeping it in their pants.

Please as long as they are able to bring in big profits for the companies they can do what ever they want with their short comings.

What about that Rep Congressman whos intern came up messing and it later came out he was chasing her around with his stick.

Why is everyone so blind to this type of action that seems to be the norm in capitol cities across our Nation.

Do not just blame the men as the ladies are just as bad anymore, but the next thimg you know they want to act better then you and me. They want to tell us their party doesn't do these things only those that follow the ways of Kenndey and Clinton, but yet they give us Herm Cain.

Should these people act this way, "no". But their personal actions shouldn't have a reflection on how they do a job and if it does to your own point when should be cleaning up CEOs across this land. We should cleanup capitol cities and we shouldn't have Rep Congressman like the one I recall complaining about Clinton to find out he to was having his little fellow wonder the open range at the same time he was complaining about the then President.

Time to get back to basics said...

It is nice that someone took the time to speak with Matt Cushman's ex-wife, but did you ask the right questions?

Why not ask her when the school district, which she works for as you pointed out, is going to get their act together and improve the test scores that we have been seeing the last couple of years.

This is more important then what her ex is doing as this has an impact on why people are not been able to sell their homes. Who wants to buy a house in a school district that is just years from failing like the Kansas City School District?

I have wondered why I see the school buses so early on Wednesdays and found out that all the kids in the district get out of school early on Wednesdays. Why not only let those kids who do their home work and maintain at least a “B” average out of school early on Wednesdays. This will send a message to all that getting out early is a reward and those who strive for good grades will be rewarded. Those not meeting the standards of a “B” average and getting their homework in on time would be required to attend a study session during those hours for the areas they need to make improvements in.

Does anyone know if these non-performing students are allowed to participate in school activities? We are the ones paying for their education and it is those standard test that measure how the district is doing, so when the test scores are bad everything else is impacted.

It is time there is accountability from both the school district administration and the students. It is time if scores don’t improve we cut sports and other activities for all students until we start making the grades and reverse this downward spiral.

Anonymous said...

I must say one of the department heads that left is not missed at all. If fact the codes department seems to get more done now than when she was here. They still need to get rid of some of the codes people who are not doing their jobs but that will happen in time.

Andy Whiteman said...

Has anyone looked at their property tax bills? OUTRAGEOUS!
School taxes are just under 69% of the tax bill. What are they doing with the money other than buying astro turf?

Ectracirricular activities shouldn't be funded by taxpayers. If students want to particupate in football, basketball, soccor, track, band, orchestra, chorus, or anything else, the student should pay the cost. I don't mind paying for the 3Rs but all of these frills are extravagant and wasteful.

Why does the district have so much bussing? When I went to school, I either walked or rode my bicycle. Busses were for those living over 1 mile away for elementary and Junior High and 2 miles for HS. That pretty much restricted bussing to kids living on the military base are in an area with no closer school.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Whoever wrote that last blog hit the nail right on the head.

If you run a business, the successful formula is to build a work schedule that is solid with people who understand their responsibilities and the importance of customer service.

A successful business would never chop up its work schedule like the Raytown School District has done with its early out Wednesdays.

How can children and teenagers learn anything if taken from the environment in which they learn?

North Side Resident said...

Paul am I reading the maps right? Is all of Wildwood Lake a high priority residential area? First the city helps keep there lake clean and now they get there streets plowed first? Just what did Aziere promise to get reelected? Is that what that woman meant when she told him to remember his promises? I can see it if there was a school or hospital there but its only a bunch of rich people. We pay our taxes to so why do we have to wait?

Andy Whiteman said...

12:13PM, Didn't notice this until you mentioned it, but I think I can understand the reasoning. Hank Dogg and I used to walk to walk that area at least once a day and I observed the issues.

For instance the road runs by the lake on one side of the lake. If a vehicle slides, it will go straight into the lake! Several of the streets off 67th down to the lake are a steep hill that vehicles will slide down. Both are true safety issues.

I assume people there pay higher property taxes than us serfs in the feif and deserve service for their tax $$$.

I really prefer that my street NOT be plowed because it makes it more difficult to walk through the drifts that the snow plows pile up in front of my curb. Last year the Red Star carrier didn't deliver my paper. I assume that is because the snow drifts blocked him from driving up to my paper tube. He would have to get out and walk up to the tube and the Red Star contract says he doesn't have to dismount. I was calling them every day for credit and the city manager of delivery couldn't get an answer from the carrier. I am sure glad that my street has been downgraded to residential. Hopefully it will only be plowed down the middle and won't be such a nuisance.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

It does look like Wildwood get preferential treatment!

I doubt that it is because of Aziere's influence. Remember, this is the guy who chastises private citizens because they complain about inssensitive snow plow drivers blocking honmeowners driveways.