This week’s video is from the Australian version of the X Factor. Pamela Cook is a cancer survivor who has a unique story. She is so unselfish, her story is inspiring. Hope you enjoy it. WATCH VIDEO
The invocation was given by Jay Grimwood, of Graceway Church.
Police Chief Jim Lynch invited all residents to the National Night Out on August 7 from 5-8 pm at the First Baptist Church on 350 Highway. There will be several exhibits there. The Raytown Police, Fire, and EMS departments will be there, as will the Lee’s Summit bomb squad and search and rescue dogs.
Mike Beeson, from the Raytown Police Officers’ Association said he has been told repeatedly that Raytown employees are the best of the best. Now, one employee is having a contract negotiation. Now one employee for the city is getting a generous benefit package over anyone else. He told the Board that over the past four years as a police officer he has received a 2.5% increase in his pay. Police officers are losing money working for Raytown, due to benefit increases and lack of pay raises. The rest of the employees are not being taken care of, and he urged the Board to vote against the resolution tonight.
Cynthia Roundtree told the Board she was concerned about a salary increase for only one employee. All city employees should be treated equal and given increases.
Andy Whiteman told the Board he was against two amendments to the City Administrator’s contract. The first object was to the 30% pay increase taking Mr. Sharma’s salary to $137,000 a year. Mr. Whiteman said Mr. Sharma’s performance may be excellent, but workers who don’t wear ties and warm chairs are very under paid. If the Board can see its way clear to give Mr. Sharma a 30% pay increase, all employees should be given the same pay increase. The second amendment he is objecting to is the wavier of the residency requirement. If Mr. Sharma lived in Raytown, maybe he’d be more inclined to resolve some of the problems. Last meeting, many employees spoke to the Board about unsafe practices and problems at Super Splash. The Park director and the pool manager both stated there were no problems. Mr. Whiteman stated he found it hard to believe that there were no problems when so many people detailed the times, dates, and specific issues. Has Mr. Sharma inspected Super Splash to find out the truth?
Jurite Estes said some of the aldermen went to Super Splash. She said Kevin Boji’s statement at the last meeting was read directly from the handbook given out two years ago. The lifeguards are quitting left and right. The Mayor told Ms. Estes the management company was hired by the Park Board and the Board of Aldermen can’t do anything about them. Ms. Estes reminded the Mayor Super Splash is a city pool and if someone is injured the City will be held liable. Concession stand employees, who she reminded the Board, are city employees, are teaching swim lessons. These employees are not properly trained.
Mahesh Sharma reminded the Board that there will be no meeting on August 7, due to the primary election. The next Board of Aldermen meeting will be August 14.
Alderman Hamilton announced REAP and Harvesters will share the food collected by the VA Hospital.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which included a resolution accepting a grant from Target Corporation in the amount of $1,000.00 for the National Night Out event, and a resolution approving the appointment of Mark Siettmann to the Raytown Park Board.
The City Clerk read the resolution continuing the appointment of Mahesh Sharma as City Administrator for the City of Raytown. The Mayor said the City is a business and the business of the City is serving the people. Like any business, Raytown has a Board of Directors, the President of the Company, and a CEO, all of whom are responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the company. Mr. Sharma has done an excellent job. He discovered inequities in the pay over the last four years. He discovered pay was too high for some of the positions and too low for others.
Mr. Sharma took steps to compensate these employees. Raytown has hired several department heads. Mr. Sharma has mentored them and after a couple of years, the department heads move on to better jobs in other cities. We should be proud of that. This makes Raytown a major player in the Kansas City Metro area. The Mayor went on to say the Board considered the residency requirement. We want all Raytown employees to line in Raytown, but we also want the best qualified employees. Waiving the residency requirement for one employee is in the best interest of Raytown. Alderman Aziere said as an elected official he should be accountable to the people. They Board represents the people and make decisions for the people. When Mr. Sharma was first hired, it was as the Public Works director. He was not required to reside in Raytown.
When the former City Administrator left, Mahesh Sharma moved into that position. The residency requirement was waived because the housing market crashed. He asked the Board to look at Mr. Sharma’s accomplishments.
He has reorganized City Hall and is accomplishing more work with fewer people. When the Finance Director left, Mr. Sharma found a new Finance Director. The Board didn’t realize the City’s finances were so bad. The new Finance Director brought the finance and accounting up to standards and is now better organized. Economic development has mushroomed. We have had eight new businesses open on 350 Highway in four years. Mr. Aziere told the Board they have two choices.
The first is to let Mr. Sharma go because we want him to move to Raytown and he’s not going to do that, which means the City has to start over with a new City Administrator. The second choice is to keep Mr. Sharma here under his terms. Alderman Van Buskirk made a motion to amend the contract by eliminating the paragraph that gives the City Administrator the same market, salary and benefit adjustments as other employee groups.
Mr. Van Buskirk said Mr. Sharma is a contractual employee and any changes to his salary and benefits should be voted on by the Board, not given with across the board increases. Alderman White said the Board had spent a lot of hours considering and discussing this issue. She said she is not comfortable changing it now. The Board rejected Mr. Van Buskirk’s motion to amend the contract. The Board then approved the contract between Mr. Sharma and the city.
The Board approved the purchase of property/evidence lockers from Tiffin Metal Products for the Raytown Police Department.
The Board approved the expenditure of funds with Paving Maintenance Supply, Inc. Andy Noll told the Board this was for pavement marking.
The Board authorized the City Administrator to enter into an agreement with Lan-Tel Communications Services, Inc. for the concrete repair projects. Andy Noll explained to the Board the initial winner of the bid was unable to get the performance bond. Lan-Tel was the second lowest bidder. They will repair curbs and sidewalks.
The Board adjourned and moved to a closed session.
$30,000 City Administrator Pay Increase
A STEP BACKWARD FOR RAYTOWN
Last Tuesday the Raytown City Council made an historic decision when it gave City Administrator Mahesh Sharma a $30,000.00 pay increase.
It is not a decision that should not be heralded as a “good move” by City Hall. More accurately, the decision throws a glaring spotlight on what is “wrong” at Raytown City Hall.
Let’s start at the beginning. There are three basic reasons why the Mayor and his Board’s actions are so wrong.
- It was done in a year in which all other city employees saw their salaries frozen.
- The 30% increase is more than many people in Raytown take home from their jobs in a single year.
- It was rushed through with a minimum of public debate.
Of these three, the lack of public debate is most alarming.
Oh, sure, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen talk these items over when they are cloistered together in meetings away from the public eye. But the reality is that the Mayor appoints a committee of unelected people who make the decision for the Board. The Board meekly follows its instructions.
By state law the Board must vote the pay contract through in public. So it is done by resolution. This public reading is then voted on after the public is given that one glimpse at issue.
No real input between the Board of Aldermen and the public.
It is so neat and clean – it is pathetic.
I served on the Raytown Board of Aldermen for 27 years.
I was personally
involved in many votes. For many of those votes the topic was debated robustly
over a period of at least two or even three meetings. This gave the Board time
to be in touch with their constituents. It gave them time to consider what the
public had to say. That input from public had a huge impact on how their
elected representatives voted.
The homogenized, carefully scripted City Council meetings we see today are an insult to anyone who believes that the public should have a say in how they are governed.
FOR THE RECORD: The vote was not unanimous. Ward 3 Alderman Charlotte Melson was the lone vote against the pay increase.
Ward 4 Alderman Bill VanBuskirk made an attempt to throttle back the decision by amending it to remove the City Administrator from any “across the board” salary decisions for city employees. It was a good idea. After all, Mahesh Sharma is a “contract employee”. His pension and other benefits are not the same as other City Hall employees – so he should not reap a windfall when the Board gives out blanket bonuses, etc..
Alderman Christine White complained that VanBuskirk’s proposal came too late to be considered.
Here’s a simple solution Christine – hold the item over for another two weeks. Give the public time to let their elected officials know what they feel. Who knows, once you are down from that ivory tower you may learn something that would influence your vote.
After all, you were not in a race to give the City Administrator a 30% pay increase.
Finally, a word of advice to Mayor David Bower.
Quit treating the public as if they are room full of school children. At the meeting you admonished polite applause for one speaker as a public display that would not be tolerated. Lighten up. The public has a right to show its support. Maintaining order at public meetings is important. But you have turned it into what appears to be an attempt to control every aspect of a City Council meeting from the call to order to the closing.
By doing so you do the public a disservice.
Finally, to the Board of Aldermen. You should take a serious look at changing the rules of your meetings to allow some give and take between Board and the public. Too often the format takes on the appearance of individuals attempting to control the debate. You shortchange yourselves by employing rules that stifle public input.
The roundtable of speeches given by Board members last Tuesday sounded more like excuses for voting the way they did than reasons for voting the way they did.
FIT BOTTOMED GIRLS
Why Clothes Don’t Fit the way They Look in a Catalog BY KRISTEN
Did I ever tell you about the time I was a model? Several years ago, while working as a style writer, I was asked to come to New York to do a photo shoot for a catalog that was planning a “Fabulous at Any Age” feature. I immediately said yes, and ended up having an amazing experience; a car picked me up at my home, drove my... Continue reading
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