Sunday, July 29, 2012

In 2008 Mahesh Sharma was hired as the City Administrator by the City of Raytown, Missouri. Prior to his appointment to the position,  Sharma had worked as the City’s Public Works Director. 

The Board of Aldermen was taking a chance that the Sharma was up to the career change. In turn, the new City Administrator was taking a leap of faith that he could accomplish the goals set for him by the Board of Aldermen. 

There was one stumbling block. The individual holding the position of City Administrator is required by City Ordinance to reside within the city limits of Raytown.

Sharma requested and was granted a three year waiver of the residency requirement for personal reasons.

By a vote of nine to one, the request was granted. 

The newly appointed City Administrator faithfully promised the Board that once the three year term was up he would relocate his home to Raytown.

In 2011 the three year extension came to an end. City Administrator Sharma asked that the Board of Aldermen waive the requirement again. This time he asked because, as Alderman Jim Aziere said, "the bottom fell out of the housing market."

The Board of Aldermen voted to extend the waiver on the residency requirement for another three years. At the end of the second three year term, Sharma was to relocate to Raytown.

At its last meeting on July 18th the Raytown Board of Aldermen voted nine to one to permanently waive the residency requirement for the City Administrator.

Any promise by Sharma, the Mayor, or Board of Aldermen to follow the city’s Code of Ordinance regarding residency became meaningless. 

They also voted to give the City Administrator a 30% pay increase of $30,000.00 at the meeting. 

Harry Truman once spoke of the public’s reaction to politicians and bureaucrats breaking their word.

He said, “How many times do you have to get hit over the head before you figure out who's hitting you?”

This Week’s Poll Question
As many of our readers are aware, one of the candidates running for Democratic Committeeman in Raytown has been ruled delinquent by the Missouri Department of Revenue and the Jackson County Circuit Court for failure to pay 2007 Missouri State Income Taxes. 

Missouri state statutes require that elected officials have ALL of their taxes paid before taking office. This week’s poll asks if State Law should be changed to require ALL taxes be paid before a candidate is allowed on the ballot?

See the Raytown Report for original story (click on the link and scroll half way down the page for the story) CANDIDATE MICHAEL DOWNING DELINQUENT IN PAYMENT OF 2007 STATE INCOME TAXES

Corrections to the Raytown Times BY PAUL LIVIUS
We know that the publisher of the Raytown Times will not do it himself, so, we have decided, (as a free public service!), to print the following “Corrections to the Raytown Times”.

This editorial opinion is in direct response to the trip down Fantasy Lane that  publisher/owner of the Raytown Times, Randy Battagler,  took when he reported on the recent pay increase for City Administrator Mahesh Sharma.

  • First, the obvious. When a man is being paid $100,000 annually and you increase that pay to $130,000 annually that is a 30% INCREASE. You reported it as a 17.6% pay increase. Shame on you for trying to mislead the good people of Raytown.
  • “Board Brings Administrator’s Salary in Line with Peers” deserves an award for being the most misleading headline in Raytown’s history. Raytown is a city of 30,000 souls within 10 square miles. A small city by any measuring stick. Comparing our City Administrator’s salary to larger cities and referring to them as “peers” is deceitful.
  • Your editorial forgot to mention that all other Raytown City employees have had their salaries frozen this year.
  • As for all the happy talk about the pay increase inspired from some of our elected officials . . . wouldn’t it be easier just to re-run a past editorial from the last time such a large salary increase was proposed for the City Administrator? We have heard it all before, the Great Leap Forward, the Most Professional, etc., etc., etc. I am sure you remember former City Administrator Curt Wenson. The elected officials (many of whom are STILL holding office) gave the same mix of adjectives and praise as we saw for Mr. Sharma. To Wenson’s credit, he refused to accept a pay increase when other city employees saw their salaries frozen.
  • It interesting that you did not mention the significant change in city policy regarding residency requirements for Raytown’s City Administrator. Nearly all of Raytown‘s “peers” require the City Administrator (Manager, Head Honcho, whatever) to live within city limits. Thanks to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, that is no longer an issue in Raytown. They voted to remove the requirement. A requirement Mahesh Sharma on more than one occasion promised to rectify.
  • An interesting comment by Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere would have been enlightening. Mr. Aziere told the Board . . . "we want him (Sharma) to move to Raytown and he is not going to do that." Aziere's statement speaks volumes about the credibility of promises made by those who are running City Hall. 
We could write more, especially about some of the nonsense from your out of town writer, Bob Phillips, but even the world wide web has limits on how much space can be used.

A recent blogger posted on the blog portion of our weekly newsletter that they were disappointed with the extreme partisanship of your paper. That “partisanship” is your right as a publisher – but misleading your readers with half-truths under the guise of a news story should be beneath your calling.

Fit Bottomed Girls
How “Healthy” is That Frozen Fro-Yo? BY ERIN
A do-it-yourself frozen yogurt shop just opened up in our neighborhood. It’s one of those places where you can choose from many different flavors of fro-yo and build your own delicious dessert concoction with the insane number of toppings available. It’s ridiculously yummy and slightly addictive. I went several times the... Continue reading

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Anonymous said...

The poll question this week is hidden. One must click on the link to get to the question.

True we are in a down real-estate market but it is also an advantage because Mahesh could buy a could have bought a house in Raytown at a very low price!

I don't follow the logic that he can't sell his house. There is no requirement that he sell his house. I bought my house in Raytown and moved here before I sold my house in Colorado. I bought my new house in NM in a down market 3-1/2 years ago and will sell my house in Raytown after I move.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised the board decided to
wave the residency rule. They have been
waving rules like a flag in a tornado for
years. This is how you get every other
city employee to have a bad attitude.
I'm not saying they do now but keep
breaking the rules and they will. It's
no wonder the codes aren't enforced rules
mean nothing to City Hall. Here's how you
really build pride in your fellow workers,
freeze their pay and give another hired
employee a thirty percent pay increase to
an already to high salary.
Then add that it's to keep his pay inline
with other towns. How about the other
employees? Why not keep their pay scale
inline with other towns? If City Hall
thinks the other employees aren't just as
important as the City Administrators,
then they should think of how this town
would be without Police, city street maintenance,
clean-up crews and so on. Maybe the CA could
do all of these jobs since he is worth so much more
than the rest!
Instead of the other employees wearing a Raytown t-shirt
they should that that shirt and have a mushroom
placed on the back. After all they are kept in the dark
and heaven knows they are under a pile of ....

Anonymous said...

Public Notice:

Under the current law there is no requirement that county committee members have their taxes paid.

One should keep in mind that county committee people work within their party and not with the policy that impacts us the citizen.

Therefore it appears being they do not make laws or approve spending of tax dollars them are not required to have their taxes paid.

Most Democratic Committee people are law abiding citizens that pay their taxes. Don't let a few bad apples leave a bad impression of our party.

Anonymous said...

Where was the CA on Friday night when Wal-Mart got the bomb treat?

I know many will say he is not a police officer so he shouldn't have been up helping out.

However, lets think of this as adults and not like fools on the Board of Alderman.

The police officers are not happy with the Board of Alderman or this out of town CA for the 30% raise he was given.

Police officers are not allowed to strike, but they sure can call in for sick days and leave the city very short of officers.

There is also nothing stoping this CA and the bright minds on the Board of Alderman from assisting with calls like the Wal-Mart on.

They could have block the entrence to Wal-Mart just as easy as our police officers did.

So you can see there is no reason our CA doesn't start earning that 30% raise.

Anonymous said...

I for one would love to be a holiday meal this year with Capt Bowen and his sister Alderman White.

I bet it will be a great time when she explains I am sorry I couldn't do more for you and the fellow officers of the police department, but we have to do our part to take are of those poor department heads that cannot eford to move to Raytown.

Salamander said...

The All-Star Game came and went. Your Salamander hopes each and every reader received their fair share of the 55 million KC officials claimed the game would generate.

To be real, a figure of 8-10 million (after deducting all costs) would be more accurate.

Problem is that we will never know because there isn't an accounting system in the world which can handle the machinations of "dreamer" economics. This is certain. Even economic illiterates at city hall will admit that most money spent on entertainment is discretionary. That is: If it is not spent on one type of entertainment it is spent on another.

Enough of money talk. Let's discuss baseball.

As the saying goes, "Take me out to the ball game." --- and get to death.

The Salamander recently attended a Royals game. Friday night, July 13. We were playing the league leading Chicago White Sox.

It was as exciting as watching a Congressional hearing.

The game went 14 innings. It lasted 5 hours and 23 minutes. A total of 18 pitchers were used.

Think of it. 18 pitchers in a 14 inning game. Some threw as little as 1/3 of an inning (one out).

What a monumental waste of time. The parade of coaches and managers to the mound reminded me of the legend about the Marching Chinese. It was endless.

How did the game manage to last almost 5 1/2 hours? Do the math. Everytime there is a pitching change it takes two trips to the mound.

One for the coach to slowly amble out.
One for the manager to plod out to make the change.

Each trip takes about 4 minutes.

In total, during the game, 144 minutes were spent watching the coaches go to and fro. 144 minutes is more than two hours where the fans had nothing to do but go get another drink or more food at the concession stand.

Your correspondent picked up the KC Star Sunday; read about the game. Lo and behold, we were told the bull pen (relief pitchers) was so tired they could hardly wiggle out of bed in time for the following Saturday game.

How on earth could pitching to as little as one or two batters tire a grown man? It makes me wonder what kind of pansies we have throwing in the major leagues.

My opinion: The game has been sissified beyond comprehension. If the trend continues the abuse of pitching rules will definitely adversely affect where entertainment dollars gets spent.

As for changing pitchers 18 times during one game -- even a 14 inning one -- I remember when Bob Gibson pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals.

During one single season, he started 38 games, completed 28 of them (Pitched the entire game). One of those games was a 14 inning event. He threw 196 pitches during that game and was in it from start to finish.

Compare that to what we see on a daily basis at Royals games.

Anonymous said...

I don't have contacts at City Hall, but occasionally run into an Alderman in public. I asked one why he voted for a 30% pay raise along with no residency requirement for the CA?

In my opinion there is brainwashing in closed sessions! By the time we finished our conversation, I almost believed the double talk.

The CA did NOT get a raise, he got an adjustment. As I recall, the last time postage went up it was called a "service adjustment" not a rate increase. I suppose the sheepole are supposed to be too stupid enough not to recognize an increase. Pure double talk.

Also I was told that when Mahesh went from Public Works director to CA, he received NO increase in pay and his pay was being adjusted to what a CA should receive. I can't believe he received NO increase in pay.

As for residency, per contract the city would have to buy his house if it didn't sell. I know of no law that requires him to sell the house. I was told that the CA spends a lot of time driving around Raytown because he was the former PW director. I still feel if he had to LIVE in Raytown, he would better realize what it is like especially if he heard complaints from family and neighbors. Driving the streets is NOT the same as living here.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy. Your double-talking friend from the city council is not being hones with you. There is not house buyout plan for Sharma. Ask him to show you a copy of the contract. They did not amend it the other night, did they?

if he is driving the streets and checking out neighborhoods he must have blinders on to miss what his codes people miss on a daily basis.

did your friend on the city council explain why none of the other employees at city hall got an "adjustment".

Their lies are going to catch up with them next election.

Anonymous said...

That's an interesting story about Michael Downing not paying his income taxes. I wonder why he did not pay them. He certainly has themoney.

Anonymous said...

The City Administrator got an
adjustment and the rest of us
including, and most importantly,
the other city employees got
people out next election!

Anonymous said...

6:03 AM, The new CA resolution was posted on the Raytown website. It stated that the CA would be exempt from residency as long as he was employed as CA with the city. I didn't question the house buy out because I know it is customary in private industry for management. I don't know if it is customary for this city to offer moving reimbursement to newly hired department heads.

I did question that Alderman about adjusting the pay of the police, EMS, public works, and other hard workers. I was told it was being done but given no time frame. I think it should be retroactive to the same date that the CA's adjustment was retroactive to.

If I was here for the next election and could vote all 5 wards, 9 Aldermen and the Mayor have lost my vote.

I sure hope Greg runs for Mayor and makes this a main campaign issue! In fact it is a good campaign issue for anyone running for Alderman.

7:30AM, These people can be voted out only if there are good opposing candidates and people get out and vote! As I said the voter turn out is so low that incumbents are reelected by friends, church members, and social club members.

Jim Aziere is running for State Representative. If elected, will be continue to be an Alderman?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

If I could afford a new vehicle, I would NOT buy GM. I don't want junk made by Chicom slave labor. I don't buy new clothes anymore because of poor quality. I haven't had a new pair of pants since '93 when my wife bought them for my birthday.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I am thinking about going up and talking with anyone that has a Jim Aziere and asking them if they like the special treatment he gives to department heads who do not want to live in our city.

Jim we have had enough of you and don't need your crazy pay raises in Jefferson City.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that they have the lofty level of professionalism that oozes out of Raytown City Hall. Otherwise they would have given gigantic pay raises years ago in Jefferson City while Tom McDonald was there

Anonymous said...

Is non payment of state income tax a felony crime? Do we want a felon representing the Democratic Party? just wondering?

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking and trying to figure
out what city hall reminds me of. Then
it hit me. (in the billfold) It's like a
kingdom with King David at the helm. Taking
care of those who are directly under him
and treating the rest of the workers like
surfs and slaves. Paying only the assistant
king directly under him because he does his
bidding for him while he is away doing his
other job.
As for the Board of Aldermen...let's just
say King David has more that enough court
jesters. Sadly they make us all laugh till we
cry but, they can sure dance around and not
give a straight answer to anyone. The up and
down nodding to affirm anything Kin David
wants is truly amazing. Who would have thought
ten people could not come up with a thought
of their own and would have to told what to do
by an over paid assistant king. Well, he did!
He even got them to let him live out of the kingdom.
Then they gave him a pay increase that was more than
most of the surfs and slaves make in a year.
I would say long live the kingdom but alas, it's
time to vote these nobel takers and wasters of our money
out. Cast them out into the real world.

Anonymous said...

This board of aldermen made the BIGGEST BLUNDER of their political careers when the gave the city administrator the biggest raise in Raytown city government's history. Also by waiving the residency requirement he is saying to the taxpayers "I'm too good to live in Raytown". I predict that ALL of these alderman and the Mayor will be defeated in their next elections. What an issue for a candidate to run on!! YOU GUYS AND GALS ARE DONE.

Anonymous said...

I live in Ward 2 and am not pleased with Hamilton's or Aziere's votes on the CA issue. If I am unfortunate ebough to still be here for the next election(s) BOTH have lost my vote.

The BUCK stops here!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Was Greg the only one who voted against the 30K pay increase and the waiver of residency for Sharma? I'm sure there are plenty of qualified individuals who would love a 100K year salary! This kind of crap is just another reason why I'm happy to be moving out of Raytown.. The only thing Raytown has going for it is that is the best house in a bad neighborhood. Hickman, Grandview, KC, schools have all had problems this has created a strong rental market for Raytown; but there in lies the problem!! Raytown will steadily decline as rentals increase and property values decline = city revenue is less. This is a growing problem across the nation and Raytown is crawling down the same hole.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who seeks elective office should pay their taxes,period. I don't care if it's a party position or not, if you ask the voters to vote for you, you should have ALL your taxes paid. Michael Downing should do the right thing and RESIGN his position on the Jackson County Democrat Committee. I hope the voters will not vote for him next Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

12:32PM, Greg cast NO vote at all since he is no longer an Alderman. Charlotte Melson was the only "NO" vote.
8:33 AM, Now maybe everyone understands why I refer to the people as serfs living in the Socialist Fascist Fief of Raytown. I will correct part of your comment. there are 9 NOT 10 on the board who appear not to have a thought of their own. One expressed her thought with a NO vote since it obviously was useless to engage in debate. Or possibly you were referring to the Mayor as part of the 1, but he has no vote unless there is a tie?
Did anyone notice a strong wind Wednesday night/Tuesday morning? There was 0.08' of rain at Royals stadium and my neighbor measured 3" on her gauge. We sure needed it! Anyway a big limb fell down in my front yard. A tree man saw it down and asked if there had been a wind? It sure shocked me to get up and see that limb down!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I doubt Michael Downing will resign. Unfortunately he will win his election because he does nothave an opponent. I know that when I go to vote I am going to skip his race because I believe that people who do not pay their taxes are not qualified to hold ANY publiic office.

Anonymous said...

7:04 AM, If there is someone not worth voting for, I skip that office and do a write in for someone who is worthwhile. If I don't know anyone my write in is "Mickey Mouse." That is my way of protesting.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how a carpetbagger and career politician from Independence serving his own agenda, who could care less about us Raytowners would be able to get one vote from anyone of us.

Think about it.

Vote for home town candidates on August 7th.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about home town candidates for a minute. One running for Democrat committeeman hasn't paid his taxes. Nine members of your board of alderman and the mayor, just handed out the largest raise to ONE city employee in our city's history. Yep, these home town candidates are really serving us well. I for one will be looking elsewhere for good people to vote for on election day.

Anonymous said...

I will vote for a home town candidate when Raytown produces one that has done something for Raytown.

The Republican home town canidate put how many kids and parents lives in jepardy

The Democratic home town canidate got how any people killed

We don't need those kinds of people representing us in Jefferson City.

Anonymous said...

11:50 AM, Agreed. I thought a person must actually reside in the district he is to representto be on the ballot. I never heard of a promise to move there if elected. What if he can't sell his house and wants an exemption? Who will grant him one?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Bill Van Buskirk sure has abandoned his conservative credentials. How can he stand up and criticize Democrats when he is acting more liberal than most Democrats I know? I bet he's not even pro-life anymore. Won't vote for this guy again. Boy, did I get fooled.

Anonymous said...

August 2nd 12:30,

Greg Walters is now and hasn't been a alderman for a few years now. Maybe you should understand who's actually on the BOA before you make your comments. It's obvious you done watch or go to the board meetings.

Anonymous said...

3:05 PM, What is Bill VanBuskirk suppose to do when it appears they were TOLD how to vote. At least he attempted to cap the pay with no general increases since Mahesh has a contract and is not salaried.

At least Charlotte voted NO. The vote could have been 8-2 but it would make no difference. I think Bill and Charlotte realized is a waste of time to argue with the majority. That meeting made me sick.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

You don't just "cave in" when you are in the minority, Greg never did. If you really believe that it (the raise) was too much then you debate the issue on the council floor and let the voters be the judge in the next election. Ms. Melson was the ONLY one who had the courage to stand up and vote no. Sometimes you don't have to be in the majority to win the battle. The mayor and the other nine board members are the ones who are going to be the loosers in the next election. I GUARANTEE IT!!!!

Anonymous said...

They don't seem to care. They didn't pay any attention to public comments, but I forget we are serfs living on the Socialist Fascist Fief and our comments mean nothing.

Andy Whiteman