Sunday, August 31, 2014


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Charter Commission Takes Strong Stand on Residency
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.

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

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”. 

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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Anonymous said...

so many comments about the police being overpaid and the police being underpaid. Why not contacdt city hall and have them give you the information? It is public information. They won't show individual names but they will show the different positions and how much they make. Be fair about it. Get ALL of the salaries from the Chief on down.

Anonymous said...

You would be shocked how employees at city didn't get raises while the police did. Jim Lynch is quite the underhanded chief. And now we have a policeman running for mayor. I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

Hold the presses! Joe Creamer has been spotted in Ward 2 again. Reports that he had moved back to Ward 1 must be in error. Either that or he is parking his truck in Ward 2 and walking home to Ward 1 each night!

Anonymous said...

Good job to the men and women on the charter commission. It's nice to know some of our elected officials are listening!

GADSDEN said...

Greg, good report it is nice to read about history of the city thru the years.

Anonymous said...

Just got called by someone who said Randy B. took after the Charter Commission for voting to require the city administrator to live within the city limits. How strange! Last week he wrote a story praising the Charter Commission. This week he writes one condemning them! Must have gotten some new marching orders from the Mayor.
By the way the vote to require the city administrator to live within city limits was 10 yes / 2 no and 1 absent. Sounds like a pretty determined group of people. Keep up the good work, guys and gals. We are listening and watching the work you are doing. Steady as she goes!

Anonymous said...

While the Charter is creating rules, how about creating a rule that the Police Chief is hired by the Mayor and BOA instead of by vote. That way PD cannot influence the votes to get a Police Chief to promote his buddies in the police department, like the one who is married to the EX Mayor. Professional ethics are needed.

Let us see how Bowman and the other PD members of the Charter vote on that one.

Anonymous said...

? When (if) the charter is passed will the current city administrator be required to move into the city?

If so how long will he have to make this happen?

My bet is he will walk.


Anonymous said...

If Mahesh Sharma leaves the city it will only emphasize how little he cares for the town. He promised to move here. He broke the promise. He promised to move here a second time. Again, his word was no good. He is a capable administrator. But his heart is not in his job.

Anonymous said...

If the Police Chief is not a elected position the charter will go down in defeat. Two members of the police department ran for a position on the charter commission with the sole purpose to keep the chief elected. I really would not trust the mayor to appoint a chief and I also wonder about some of the board.

If the charter passes then that could be tried in a latter year.

Anonymous said...

To Sept 3 @ 5:05pm Some hold that a Police Chief who is hired by a Mayor is subject to the undue influence of that Mayor (and/or City Councilmen). For that matter, it is already bad enough that we have a Mayor who sits on the City Council and can exert his influence there!

Raytown's city gov't is seriously bloated -- heck, even our PIO has an assistant now. With 30,000 residents, we could do away with half those in our city gov't, save a lot on salaries, and have better results. Do away with the weak mayor form of gov't we have. Change over to a strong Mayor form of gov't and fire the C. Admin. Too many cooks in the kitchen and too few satisfactory results.

Someone else commented on the great green space land give away. Raytown should outlaw eminent domain in their charter. Giving the green space away to a private developer is clearly an abuse. Eminent domain land is to be used for the public's use. Did you know Missouri is 49 out of worst abusers of our 51 states? That's a horrible track record. How serious is this issue? Take a look at the maps of Raytown showing all the land that's been declared blighted and is ripe for them to take on ambiguous terms. Don't wait until it comes to it being your property they want to take. Learn more about this and then speak up.

Lillian said...

To Anon 12:02

When I went to bed last night, we had 50 states. Did Obama annex another state overnight?

Anonymous said...

The city of Raytown has without a doubt the laziest bunch of citizens I know. This town looks like some kind of hick town. What is so hard about cleaning your fencerow on your property or painting your house? Don't give me the excuse I am old and can't do it. Then either hire someone to do or move into a retirement home. If you are young you have no excuse except that you are a lazy bum. I am sick and tired of looking at un kept property and to top it all off you are bringing down my property value. You want new business here they won't come if the city looks like a trash dump.

John said...

Anon 10:20
If you don't like the way your neighbor keeps their property, you have two choices. The first one is to call the Codes Department and report your neighbor. (Good luck getting anything done). The second choice is to do what Mayor Bower suggests - don't bother the poor folks at City Hall. Go next door yourself and tell your neighbor to clean up the property. (Hope you don't get shot).

Anonymous said...

I just finished watching most of the Charter meeting on Raytown Online and I completely agree with what Mr. Green said about administrator residency, I do not think this is a conterversional issue, this requirement should be a given and from my understanding is in a vast majority of communities. Secondly, one of the reasons I voted for a Charter in the first place was that as a voter I feel disrespected that we don't have certain powers as citizens that other communities do. I want to have a voice in my community other than just a vote for city council or mayor.

Anonymous said...

.... err, that was 50 states.
It was late, I was tired.

Hippo Anonymous said...

I don't care if Mahesh lives on the moon, this city administrator knows how to juggle the demands from the Board, citizens, businesses, and squabbles between all the different interests in this town and there are a lot!!!

The previous city administrators (Wenson, Miller) lived in this town and we got screwed over big-time
with nothing to show for our money but a wal-mart and increase taxes.

Leave the man (Mahesh) alone so he can do his job. If you want to attack something, attack decreasing property values, crime in our neighborhoods and a city budget that is half consumed by the Police Department, which leaves little for sidewalk, streets and neighborhood infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

So Jim Aziere is going to stomp his foot like a spoiled little boy just because he does not get his way. Come on Aziere grow up or maybe grow a pair and use for head for some thinking for a change.

Anonymous said...

Who are kidding? It was under Mahesh Sharma's watch that the black economic hole on 350 Highway (Walmart) came into being. If you wonder where all of our tax dollars go -- you can visit the store and admire the building, parking lot and traffic signals on 350 Highway. That is where ALL of your tax dollars collected at Walmart go. To pay down the debt for all of that concrete and steel.

As far as cleaning up the neighbhorhoods. Good idea. It would be an even better idea if our city enforced code violations. Do ya' think the City Administrator has anything to do with that enforcement? He does, after all, manage the city.

If the city enforced its codes you will go a long way in cleaning up an atmosphere conducive to crime.

If the police did more on enforcing warrants you would also see a spike in revenue to the city.

Anonymous said...

Jason Greene is nothing more than a loud mouth kid who thinks he knows it all. That is probably why he didn't beat Cleaver.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised to hear that Aziere has already come out against the Charter either. After all, he did the same thing last time.

Kind of a dumb move on his part. I do not think any ideas he brings forward will be taken very seriously at future meetings of the group. Since he is going to go out and play his dirty little political games anyway.

I am disappointed to hear the Mary Jane VanBuskirk is jumping onto Aziere's bandwagon of one. Hope she re-thinks her actions.

As for the rest of the Commissioners, GOOD JOB!!! It is nice to learn that most of you are listening to us!

Anonymous said...

Since when did it become the city's job to clean up property? It is the home owners job and if he can't or won't then he needs a stiff ticket from the city without any excuses. I won't clean up my neighbors property. This crap all came about when Bower became mayor. Until I see the good man out cleaning up someone's mess I won't do it either.

Anonymous said...

I didn't jump on anyone's band wagon. I think for my self. Evidently that is more than you do. Mary Jane

Kurt said...

It would appear Mary Jane can criticize other people, but has really thin skin when they criticize her. Boo Hoo

Anonymous said...

Seems as though someone that does not like the charter commission is now taking shots at Jason Greene it is too bad as he is one of the good guys with the white hat.

Anonymous said...

You can criticize me all you want at the end of the day I will do what I feel is right. So criticize on. Sticks and stone will break my bones BUT words will never hurt. So Kurt say what you gotta say!!!
Mary Jane

Kurt said...

Mary Jane,

I say you are very sophomoric.

Anonymous said...

If you think Jason Green is one of the good guys I would hate to think who you see as the bad guy!!

Anonymous said...

Mary Jane,

Im sure you are a good person, but you really shouldn't have responded on this blog like that.

Anonymous said...

6:12 Anon

I would say looking at the past couple election results Jason Greene is more than just a loud mouth kid.

I would say its a shame he didn't run against Cleaver, maybe he would have done better than Mr. Turk. I voted for him in 2012, 2013 and on the charter in 2014. He has coached my kids, been a great neighbor and has a passion about helping people, more than I can say about most up at city hall.

GADSDEN said...

Amen to 6:12 Anon

He is a good person we are lucky to have him in Raytown.