Sunday, December 28, 2014



Write it on your heart
that every day 
is the best day in the year.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Will there be a City Collector after next April’s Election?
One question before the Charter Commission is the status of the position of City Collector in Raytown’s future.

The first draft of the Raytown Charter has been completed and there is not one word addressing the existence of a City Collector. The absence of any mention of the office is a strong indication there will not be a City Collector if the voters approve the Charter next April. Charter Commissioners are expected to resolve at its next meeting.

Whatever the decision, the election of a City Collector will be on next April’s ballot. Since the position exists in this election cycle the result of that election will have an impact. However, the ballot wording states the position of City Collector is for a four year term ending in 2019.

In other words, whoever is elected next April will hold the position until 2019.

How About Contract Employees?
If the Charter has the authority to over-ride city ordinances as it relates to an elected position (such as the City Collector), what authority does it have regarding employees serving under contract with the city?

The City currently has two employees under contract.

City Finance Director
The city currently has two contract employees. One is the City Finance Director, Martha Mundt. The other is City Administrator Mahesh Sharma. The three page contract with City Finance Director is straight forward and to the point. Generally speaking it is a simple contract outlining duties of the office, moving expenses and term of employment.

City Administrator
The seven page contract between City Administrator Mahesh Sharma and the City is more complex. To understand the difference one need only review three key sections of the contract. Consider the following:
Paragraph 12c has language a major league baseball player would be jealous of. Consider the following:

C) If the City, its governing body, its citizens, or the Missouri General Assembly:
  • Adopts a charter form of government for the City or
  • Amends the provisions of any such charter, the code of ordinances, or the enabling legislation, any of which pertain to the role, powers, duties, authority, or responsibility of the Employee’s position as City Administrator, that substantially changes the form of government , the Employee shall have the right to declare that such amendments constitute a termination without cause.
“Without cause” means the City Administrator may leave the position with a golden parachute of a value of over $130,000.00 as a goodbye gift from the city. Paragraph C even holds the city liable if the Missouri General Assembly changes state law. Something the city has absolutely no control over!

Paragraph 12D allows the City Administrator to resign his position “without cause” (guaranteeing the $130,000+ pay check) if the city reduces the salary of the position or does not budget the position.
Paragraph 12E is almost predatory in its language.
  • If Employee resigns following an offer or suggestion to resign, made by the City and representative of a majority of the entire governing body, whether such offer is formal or informal, then Employee may resign and such action will be regarded as a termination without cause.
If the Administrator resigns his office because someone representing themselves as speaking for the Board of Aldermen – then that resignation would be considered as “without cause” and take $130,000.00+ of the taxpayer’s money with him (see The Rest of the Story below).

So, the question remains. If the Charter Commission can eliminate the position of City Collector with the stroke of a pen – in effect invalidating next April’s election of the City Collector. Would it not hold true that the Charter Commission can invalidate an agreement between the City and the City Administrator?

It has been often stated that the Charter is a “constitution” for Raytown. If it is in fact a constitution that replaces the old and brings in the new, is it possible the Charter would trump poor decision made by the City in the past?

The Commission has a blank page on which to write its legacy. They should pick up the pen and do so.

The Rest of the Story . . .
How much will the City Administrator receive under the current contract if he released from his duties without cause?

Should the City Administrator be let go without cause he will be eligible for: 
  • Full salary for one year after termination without cause.
  • Full compensation for the City Deferred Compensation Plan (pension fund) after termination without cause.
  • Fully paid dental, health and life insurance for one year after termination without cause.

Proposed Charter Removed from Website BY PAUL LIVIUS

EDITOR'S NOTE: Shortly after the following story was published a working copy of the Raytown Charter was re-posted to the Charter Commission Website after a one week absence.
The working version of the Raytown Charter has been removed from the Charter Commission’s website. According to the Charter Commission’s Secretary, Lisa Emerson, the working version of the Charter Commission was removed from the website at the request of Charter Commission Chairman Steve Guenther.

“I became aware the working version of the Commission had been removed when I received a call from a neighbor,” said Charter Commissioner Greg Walters.

Walters said he contacted the Commission Secretary Lisa Emerson and asked her put the working document back up on the page. As of this writing, Monday morning, December 29th, the page is still blank.

On the Charter Commission’s website homepage the following message can be found CHARTER COMMISSION WEBSITE

“This website is to provide the Raytown Charter Commission members, the media, and the public at large easy access to the RCC's charter-related meetings, work, notes, lists, and files referenced, the contents of which are all public information.”

“If what Lisa (Emerson) said is true, the Chairman (Steve Guenther) has over-stepped his authority,” said Walters.

“We are supposed to be a Commission of equals,” continued Walters, “this closing down of communication with the public does not do anyone any good.”

Walters said he will bring the subject up at this evening’s meeting of the Charter Commission and ask for a vote of the Commission to place the Charter document back on the website page.
List of Candidates Grows . . .
The list of candidates for City, School Board and Fire District has grown during the Christmas season. Filing closes for all offices on January 20th.

This week’s report on candidates includes one new filing for the Board of Alderman (Steve Guenther), two filings for the Raytown School Board (Amy Tittle and Kristy Collins-Delarber, and two filings for the Raytown Fire Board (Richard Tush and Willard Ross).

The Fire Board race is interesting. The incumbent, Willard Ross, had been expected to retire for the Fire Board when his term was completed in 2014. Mr. Tush is currently serving as a Board member of Consolidated Water District No. 2.

Pat Ertz
Michael McDonough
Alderman Ward I
Joe Creamer
Alderman Ward 2

Jim Aziere
Chris Rathbone
Steve Guenther
Alderman Ward 3
Lisa Emerson
Mark Moore
Alderman Ward 4
Mary Jane VanBuskirk
Steve Meyers
Alderman Ward 5
Barry Park
Eric Teeman
City Collector
Kathie Schutte
Kristie Lynn Collins-Delarber
Amy Beth Tittle
Richard Tush
Willard Ross

If past elections are a model to follow our readers can expect an uptick in the number of comments on the blog portion of the Raytown Report. This makes sense. The Raytown Report is a community based news outlet and we are proud of the work we do to get the word out to Raytowners as to what is happening in our local governing bodies.

We are also aware there are people who will try to take advantage of the opportunity to speak up. With that in mind we want to remind our readers of the following rules we have for bloggers on the Raytown Report. 
  • Profanity of any kind is not allowed. That includes “blue language”. If you write using such language expect to see it edited out of your comment or not published at all.
  • Hearsay, information that is heard from other people, should be identified as such. If you write it as a fact, and it is not a fact we are aware of it, it will either be edited or removed entirely.
  • If you have something to say that you do not want to see edited, the solution is simple. Sign your name. By “sign your name” be sure to make sure we can verify your signature. Call or email the verification to us and we will consider what you have written. More often than not, we will publish it if you are willing to stand by what you say.
And now for my Rant! BY PAUL LIVIUS
I write the columns covering the Raytown City Council meetings under the title of the Paul Livius Report. Nearly all of what I write is taken from recordings of meetings. Typically, Greg will record the meeting and provide it to me to transcribe.

About six weeks ago the City of Raytown embarked on a project to remodel the Council Chambers. As expected, there have been problems with the sound as a result of the remodeling. Most of those problems have been resolved.

But there is one remaining problem. It is not technical. It is simple.

When they changed over the sound system the control buttons on the dias were changed as well. I know this because the Charter Commission uses the same dias for many of its meetings. My partner here at the Raytown Report, Greg Walters, has used the new buttons.

In fact, when I asked him about how it works he proudly told me he only had to be told once how to use the buttons to make himself heard.

I bring this up because apparently, some of the members of the Board of Aldermen seem to forget that black spindly thing in front of them is a microphone. It is highly unlikely they will be heard on the video re-broadcast if they do not speak directly into the microphone. Which means no one will know what was said!

Come on people! This is not rocket science. If Greg can figure out how to use the on/off buttons on the microphones so can you!

Greg tells me one problem he has observed is that some  speakers literally push the microphone away from them. As he pointed out, if the microphone is two feet away from the speaker’s mouth, it is not a technical issue. It is a people problem.

Hope these instructions are helpful. We really want to hear what is being said at public meetings. So please . . . . USE YOUR MICROPHONE!!!



Pear au Chocolat

Holiday desserts don’t have to be calorie-laden or difficult to prepare to be tasty. Classically French and oh-so sophisticated poached pears constitute the perfect ending to a heavy meal. They’re fancy, just not fussy. For easy meal planning, cook the fruit the day before and leave them in the fridge to soak in the cinnamon-scented syrup.

Two-ingredient chocolate ganache takes only a couple of minutes and, when poured warm over the fruit, makes a beautiful presentation. READ MORE

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Anonymous said...

We poor simple minded folks here in Raytown just suffer the consequences of cityhall hiring people who are only interested in themselves rather than the community.

Anonymous said...

If they people of Raytown didn’t like the abuse they suffered under David Bower, why would anyone support Gunther?

One individual on the Charter Commission should not be authorized to hide from us the voters what is in the Charter unless they are ashamed of what they have put in it

What has happened to the transparency of this group?

GADSDEN said...

Hey, the charter is not yet completed and when it is it will be released to the public do not go around making comments like you have at 3:26

Sounds like you are one of the ones that want the charter killed even before it is completed.

Virginia said...

Why would I want to vote for Steve Gunther? He was head of the Main Street Association for years. What happened? Nothing. The Main Street/Downtown area is just as run down as it was 10 year ago. So far, my vote is for Mike. If you don't want him to be Mayor, find someone better to run. I absolutely will not vote for an insider.

Anonymous said...

Wake up....

How can one take any position on the Charter and/or add comments that may even be constructive when we have individuals on the charter commission who want to hide it from us.

Thank you Paul and Greg for calling this out to use the voters, which also makes us the ones picking up the tab for this.

KMCCLA said...

I have printed out the proposed charter (all 34 pages, it is easier for me to read on paper than on a computer), and have been reading parts of it. So far I have no problems with it. As I look it -- correct me if I am wrong -- as this is the City's "Constitution" of sorts. Although I do have a few questions, is it not possible or feasible to have the City Attorney and Prosecutor to be residents? Not that I guess it matters, however most of the other positions are required to be residents. Also I would like to see that the "law firm" be from the City of Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me who is trying to hide what is going on in the charter commission when the meetings are open to the public and the charter can be read by anyone once it is completed and then voted on. What kind of stuff are people attempting to say is hidden from us?? Be honest Mr 6:23 let us in on the facts so that we will all know. I think that you are a bag of wind trying to kill the charter before the people get a chance to even read it.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me why the Charter Commission is not meeting at Raytown City Hall? I went to the meeting last Monday night. City Hall was empty. I finally found them at the No. 1 Fire Station. The room was crowded and stuffy. Why are they meeting in such a small space when they have the city council chambers available?

Greg Walters said...

In answer to the question as to why City Hall was not used at the last meeting of the Charter Commission I can give at least part of an answer.

The Charter Commission has been meeting at two different locations. One is the City Council Chambers at City Hall. The other is a small meeting room at Raytown Fire Station Number One.

The meetings have pretty much been a "one week at City Hall, one week at the Fire Station" event.

The reason for the change is that the Municipal Court is in session on the same night the Charter Commission meets twice a month.

The meeting last Monday night was held at the Fire Station even though City Hall was available.

I was told the reason the meeting was held at the Fire Station was because the Chairman (Steve Guenther) preferred the smaller room.

Personally, I prefer the large venue at City Hall. It is a more comfortable venue, and, it has much more room for the public to attend.

At our last meeting (held at the Fire Station) over 20 private citizens showed up to voice their opinion about the proposed Charter.

It was crowded. Because of the way the Charter Commission is seated in the room -- one half of the Commissioners had their backs to the people who were speaking!

Even worse, speakers did not have a podium from which to address the Commission.

Given the uncomfortable situation at the last meeting, I hope all are in agreement to use the larger venue at City Hall in the future.

Anonymous said...

Gloria says. I understand there will not be a charter meeting Monday night as Lisa Emerson has been sick and not able to obtain a meeting place. Really is she the only one that can do this? What do we have a co chair for? Oh yea he is to sit and whisper in Mikes ear so Mike will know what is going on and how to vote. This is the worse mess I have ever heard of. Just what is Steve and his buddies trying to hide for us? We will only see the charter after it has been submitted to the county. Our voice doesn't count but believe me my vote will when I vote AGANIST it.