|BY GREG WALTERS|
As I See it . . .
Most readers are aware that I was elected to the Raytown Charter Commission in April. Since I will be at the meetings it puts me in a unique position to report on what exactly is going on with the Charter Commission.
As you can imagine, there is a lot of discussion behind the scenes of a 13 member Commission. Most of that discussion is via email. Thanks to the Sunshine Law, it is also a matter of public record. To conform to state law City Hall has set up an email account as a “catch basin” for all of the email traffic between Commissioners.
All of that traffic is available to the public for review through the Office of the City Clerk at Raytown City Hall. So, if you want to review any of the emails you can call City Hall at 737-6000.
At the last meeting of the Raytown Charter Commission there was an interesting development. I was under a doctor’s care that evening and unable to attend the meeting. The information came to my attention when I was reviewing the minutes of the meeting.
I read the following (in bold type) in the proposed minutes and am concerned by what it may suggest:
Lisa Emerson will check on the Missouri Sunshine Law’s number of people that make a meeting open and will come back to the committee with that information.
After checking with some members who were at the meeting I found out the question had to do with the formation of Sub-Committees of the Charter Commission to study specific issues which would then be brought back to the entire Commission for resolution.
One of the issues assigned to a Committee made up of Jason Greene, Sandy Hartwell and Charlotte Melson dealt with election of public officials. I was interested in attending that meeting to throw in my two cents worth. After all, the function of a committee meeting is gather information from individuals within a given jurisdiction. But I found out I would not be able to attend because the “meeting” was going to be held via the internet/emails.
That does not sound very inclusive to me. Not only does it exclude the rest of the Commission from participating, it locks the public out of the process.
How can a committee gather information and suggestions from others if the process is limited to a three way conversation via the internet? There are a lot people out there who may want to add their voice and ideas to the debate.
Committees serve an important purpose. It allows members to hone in on particular subjects. It is appropriate to do so at the committee level than before the entire Commission.
Raytown City Hall already has a reputation for secrets for secrets sake. It is not a stigma that should be carried over to the Charter Commission.
Committee meetings should be held in a public venue with access open to all who wish to participate.
28% . . . . Raytown Board of Aldermen72% . . . . Raytown City Council
Paul's Rant! BY PAUL LIVIUS
Three Charter Commission members, Jason Greene, Sandy Hartwell and Charlotte Melson have been charged with reviewing possible changes to laws covering elected officials and conduct of elections in Raytown.
That’s a pretty tall order. It covers a lot of territory. I am not a member of the Commission but have some ideas I would like to share with them. So, I thought, why not do so here.
Here is my short list of suggestions for their consideration.
- Take a page from the recent change in Kansas City to move municipal elections to a warm weather time of the year. Currently the campaign spans February, March and April. The three most volatile months (weather-wise) of the year. Move it to April, May and June. As an added benefit, you would probably have more public participation in your elections.
- Require that elected officials live a minimum of one year in the political subdivision they represent to qualify for office. This would stop the moving of candidates from Ward to Ward. Yes, it has happened in Raytown before. Most cities have this simple rule. Why not Raytown?
- Term Limits deserve discussion.
- Should we keep a ten member City Council? Or should we look at “at-large” representation? A smaller governing body? A larger governing body? There are all sorts of variables on this one.
- Qualification of candidate residency currently rests with Jackson County Board of Election Commissioners. Should the City set up residency qualifications to make certain a candidate actually lives in the ward they want to represent?
- Board of Aldermen is dated terminology. Is it time to become a little more “21st Century” by calling the governing body a City Council?
- Who is elected and who is not is always a thorny issue. Should Chief of Police be elected or appointed?
- Should the Municipal Judge be elected or appointed?
- Primary elections? Should there be a run-off if none of the candidates receive a majority of the votes?
- Should the city elections be partisan or non-partisan?
I see Greg’s point now. It may take a little longer than two weeks to figure out the answer to these questions.
My advice to the Charter Commission – take your time and make informed decisions – start by making the committee process an “inclusive” event.
Raytown Charter News Link
Lisa Emerson, Secretary to the Raytown Charter Commission, has created a webpage for the Commission. The page has links to the Minutes and Video of past meetings. Use the following link to visit the page.
USE THIS LINK . . . CHARTER COMMISSION
Friends of the Rice-Tremonti Home are looking for individuals or groups who would be interested in helping repaint this Historic old home In Raytown. We will provide the paint if you help us with the labor.
For more information call Leigh Elmore 333-3586
The Rice-Tremonti Home and Aunt Sophie’s Cabin will now be open to the Public, Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 pm, beginning May 31, 2014.
How to Dice
In yesterday's post that featured the Belgian Endive Salad With Avocado, I promised I'd show you guys a simple and easy trick to dice an avocado. So let's get to it! I've made a visual and written version, so learners of all types can learn how to dice an avocado quickly! How to Dice an Avocado 1. Slice. First, slice the avocado in half, …Read More
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