LOOKING TO RAYTOWN'S FUTURE
There are probably many in Raytown who anticipated a regime change when all but one the incumbents eligible for re-election were replaced by neophyte candidates for Alderman and Mayor.
When the votes were counted, it was out with the old, in with new. How anyone with any sense would view the last election as an endorsement of the status quo is hard to fathom. The voters in Raytown did not want a return to the old. They wanted a change from the path taken by former Mayor David Bower.
They were tired of secret meetings held behind the public’s back in an attempt to push a Walmart Grocery Store into Downtown Raytown.
People were concerned when they were told how the city was moving forward while the street in front of their house was turning to rubble.
When election time came, they booted out the old and brought in the new.
It is not a surprise to see the old regime’s bureaucracy follow suit. The first to go was the city Public Information Officer, Brenda Gustafson. Up until the time David Bower became Mayor, the position did not exist.
Now we see City Administrator Mahesh Sharma preparing to leave the scene.
Anyone who has been in city government for a long time will tell you that Administrators come and go. It is rare for one to stay for an extended period of time.
In the case of Mahesh Sharma the best thing to do is to wish him good luck and safe journey to his next posting.
Which brings us to . . .
“The Mayor and Board of Aldermen have a unique opportunity before them. They have an opportunity to right the good ship Raytown and set her on a steady course. By this I mean, they can wipe the slate clean and start over. In many ways Sharma has done them a favor by making a graceful exit.
Some suggestions for them to consider include:
DO NOT BE IN A HURRY: This is not the first time the city has been in a position to replace a City Administrator. The Mayor and Board of Adlermen should remember they are not in a race to replace the City Administrator. Take time. Be sure.
By taking time Mayor McDonough will have to step up to the role as a full time Mayor. It will give him and the Board an opportunity to assess and determine their goals. It will give the Board of Aldermen an opportunity to set policies. Ultimately, they, with the Mayor, are the ones responsible for running the city. In the past nine years City Hall has stepped away from a proactive Board of Aldermen. Too much authority has been abdicated to appointed department heads. The Board and Mayor need to take charge at City Hall. They are good people. They have it within themselves to run the city.
IF YOU DO HIRE A CITY ADMINISTRATOR: Wait a year. Let things settle down and then make an informed choice. There are plenty of eager individuals who want to prove they can manage a city the size of Raytown. This will not be the first time the City has operated without an Administrator. A year passed after former Ctiy Administrator Curt Wenson moved on to Liberty, Missouri before Mayor Sue Frank brought a new Administrator on board.
SPEAKING OF THE SIZE OF RAYTOWN: Remember that Raytown is a city completely surrounded by other cities. It is only 10 square miles in size. It has a population of nearly 30,000 souls. Do not fall for the swan song that you must compete with surrounding cities that have over four times the population (Independence) or literally unlimited room for growth (Blue Springs). You are not in a competition to meet their salary expectations for a city administrator.
AVOID CRADLE TO GRAVE CONTRACTS: The contract crafted for Mahesh Sharma was so unbalanced it was ridiculous. It gave the Administrator unrealistic guarantees of job security.
It allowed the City Administrator to leave his position without cause, thereby capturing a severance pay in excess $150,000.00 if (1) voters approved a change in government affecting the position of City Administrator (2) the State Legislature empowered the city to make changes to the position of City Administrator, or (3) if any elected official approached the City Administrator with the suggestions he leave the employment of the city.
ABOVE ALL ELSE: Remember the most important allegiance is to the voters who elected you. It is your responsibility to insist the taxpayers needs come first. It is a delicate balancing act. Too often it seems as if the needs of the 30,000 people in Raytown take a back seat in the business at Raytown City Hall.”
Paul’s Rant! BY PAUL LIVIUS
THE THREE AMIGOS
One of our bloggers labeled them The Three Amigos. Former Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer, Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere, and Raytown Times owner, Randy Battagler are the Amigos.
They seem to share an editorial point of view that anything coming from seven members of the Board of Aldermen is a bad idea. Their soap box is the Raytown Times. Once a week, one or more of them can be expected to wax rhetoric about the evil of seven members of the Board of Aldermen.
The past three weeks readers of the Raytown Times have been treated to an epistle by Joe Creamer. Last week Randy Battagler threw in with him.
Battagler and Creamer are upset because of recent changes at City Hall. Most notably the exit of former Public Information Officer Brenda Gustafson and now the announced resignation of City Administrator Mahesh Sharma.
They blame seven of the City Council members for forcing those two to leave Raytown.
I don’t see it that way, and judging from the reaction of the public, neither do most people in Raytown. Gustafson left for a job with another government agency. Sharma is climbing up the next rung of the ladder. He is leaving his job as a City Administrator to take on a similar position with a lot more responsibility as the Administrator of an entire County.
Creamer’s allegations? Take them for what they are . . . sour grapes from an incumbent candidate who ran a poor third in a three way race for re-election. He probably feels this is an effective way to get back into the game.
Aziere has been quiet ever since he filed for State Representative. It has probably dawned on him that getting heavily involved in local politics is not a path to election to the state house.
As for Mr. Battagler. Someone’s gotta’ sell those papers!
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