The Raytown Charter Commission endorsed a residency rule for the position City Administrator at last Tuesday night’s meeting. Ten of the thirteen commissioners voted to make residency a requirement for the position of City Administrator.
Raytown has had four City Administrators. Three of them met the requirement they live within city limits. None of those Administrators were paid for their moving expenses. Two of the previous City Administrators relocated to the City of Raytown from out of state. One City Administrator, Curt Wenson, moved from the City of Lee’s Summit to Raytown when he took the position.
Raytown’s current City Administrator, Mahesh Sharma has not moved to Raytown since he was appointed to the position. Before taking the position of City Administrator, Sharma held the position of Raytown’s Public Works Director.
Upon his appointment to the position of City Administrator, Sharma asked the city ordinance requiring the City Administrator live within the city limits be waived until his daughter graduated from high school. At the time, all but one Alderman (Greg Walters) supported the waiver of the requirement for a three year period.
At the expiration of the waiver, Sharma asked that the requirement be waived again because the housing market had collapsed and he would not have been able to recoup his investment on his home located in the Raymore/Peculiar area.
The majority of the Raytown Board of Aldermen voted to approve the waiver for another three years.
At the expiration of the (second) three year term, Sharma requested the waiver be extended indefinitely. On a split vote, the majority of the Board of Aldermen voted to approve the extension of the waiver . . . and, increase the City Administrator’s salary by $30,000.00
The controversial decision and pay increase came at a time when the Board had frozen all salary increases for city employees.
Commissioner Greg Walters reminded fellow Commissioners of the importance of having the top man or woman in place in times of emergency. He recalled a devastating ice storm that had cut power to most of Raytown for nearly a week and the pivotal role then City Administrator Curt Wenson had in bringing order to the recovery operation led by City. (Wenson had recently moved from Lee’s Summit to Raytown, when he accepted the job as City Administrator)
Commissioner Jason Greene told members he had conducted a study of Charter cities in Missouri and found all of them contain a residency requirement for the position of City Administrator. He also shared with members that voters personally told him they wanted the residency requirement for the City Administrator written into the Charter.
Commissioner Mark Moore told members that, in his opinion, the Raytown City Administrator, who is paid $140,000 annually, can well afford to live within the city limits. Chairman Steve Guenther, said he supports the residency requirement for the City Adiministrator and reminded Commissioners the Raytown Fire District requires the Fire Chief to live within city limits as well.
If the voters approve the Charter as written by the Commission, the person holding the position of City Administrator will be required to move to Raytown within six months. The City Council will not be able to waive the rules – the only way the requirement could be changed would be through an election decided by a public vote.
HOW THEY VOTED:
ISSUE: Require the City Administrator to live within city limits
VOTING YES: Jason Greene, Sandy Hartwell, Steve Guenther, Mark Moore, Lisa Emerson, Janet Emerson, Mike McDonough, Susan Dolan, Ted Bowman, Greg Walters
VOTING NO: Mary Jane VanBuskirk, Jim Aziere
ABSENT: Charlotte Melson
Paul's Rant BY PAUL LIVIUS
Bob Phillips, an out of town writer for a competing newspaper recently weighed in on development of the Green Space. The city has been trying to find an investor to come in and develop the large open space in Downtown Raytown for some time.
The last offer was way out of the city’s price range. Phillips’ lament is that the city should look to a local developer to take on the project.
Which makes sense, but then the column leaves reality behind.
Phillips believes we should give the land to a local developer!
To which I say balderdash! In case you are wondering “balderdash” is defined as “senseless or pointless talk or writing”.
But maybe ol’ Bob has something there. Bob moved away from Raytown a long time ago. He lives somewhere down toward the Ozarks, about a three and half hour drive from Raytown.
Bob is what you might call a “gentleman farmer”. That means he owns some acreage, but he does not really farm it. He just owns it. Part of it, like Raytown’s Green Space is fallow – not used for anything but left wild.
I have a friend who has always wanted to move to the country and farm. But he does not have the money to do so. Perhaps Bob will give him some of his unused acreage so my friend can realize his dream.
Wouldn’t that be grand! Bob can see his farm prosper, my friend can be a farmer.
What say you, Bob?
You are fond of quoting old sayings. Perhaps you will recognize this one – I believe it fits in this case.
“What’s sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander”.
The Revolving Door
Continues to Turn at City Hall
Andy Noll, Raytown’s Public Works Director announced his resignation last week. Mr. Noll’s resignation is the second senior Department Head to leave the city this summer. The city’s former Finance Director left early last summer to enter into private business.
Their leaving is not the end of the world, but it does point to problem at Raytown City Hall. For any organization to thrive, continuity in leadership is important. In the past twenty years Raytown has seen a high turnover of employees at the department head level.
Coincidentally, the start of this turnover began when the City quit the practice of requiring senior level department positions to live within the city limits.
When someone takes a position that, in part, requires them to become a member of the community, they are more likely to stay in that position because where they are becomes part of them. It becomes home. When it is home, they have a vested interest. They want to see it prosper and grow.
Of course this does not guarantee that someone working and living in Raytown will not decide to move on. But the lack of that requirement is manifesting itself in what appears to be a revolving door at the management level at Raytown City Hall.
The Mayor and Raytown Board of Aldermen have an opportunity every time a department head position becomes vacant. They should, at the very least, inquire as to the willingness for new applicants to make Raytown their home. Particularly for those individuals who are relocating to the Kansas City area.
With each new appointment the Mayor and Board of Aldermen have an opportunity to correct the situation. So far they have not.
New Finance Director Named
Ms. Martha Munt has been hired to take the helm of the City’s Finance Department. Ms. Mundt comes to Raytown from Greene County (Springfield area). According to a press release from City Administrator Mahesh Sharma Ms. Munt, “brings a wealth of finance experience to the position”.
FIT BOTTOMED EATS
All We Are Saying, Is
Give Fish A Chance (on the Grill)
It’s time to close out the last unofficial weekend of summer with a cookout. There is nothing wrong with a good burger, but if you’ve grilled enough of America’s favorite food this summer to become an honorary member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, perhaps it time to try something different.Due to its delicate nature, fish — especially the boneless fillet — can be a might tricky for the grilling novice, but it’s entirely doable. A fish basket or grate is an inexpensive way to guarantee success, but it can be done without any special equipment. READ MORE
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