Sunday, May 15, 2016

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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BY GREG WALTERS
What’s Next?
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 . . .

RAYTOWN’S FUTURE

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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46 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have observed one thing about our new mayor. He doesn't stand up to some of the new alderman. They are making him look pretty dumb and spineless. Haven't lived here long but I am a quick learner and a very good observer and good judge of people.

Anonymous said...

"SECRET MEETINGS" in Bower's Wal-Mart days behind closed doors??? I had heard these Sunshine Law violating meetings happened and existed... Where were the outraged 3 Amigos in protest of these meetings??? Oh my bad... In Creamer's and Aziere's case attending them....What HYPOCRITES that whole slew of obstructionists are!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Greg- I agree with you completely one this one, sometimes I don't but this is right on. After last week Ive decided I will no longer even pick up the free copy at the Apple Market. Between Jim Azeire, Joe Craemer and the Raytown Times owner's constant name calling and embarrassing writing, It seems these clowns have their own paper without any real reporting of the news or evidence of their claims. Sour Grapes indeed.

Anonymous 6:33... I find that funny because I dont see the new Aldermen as the problem but the Mayor not being a leader, just a soundboard for the Administrator. Maybe these new aldermen found problems with the Administration and now the free ride is over? It seems to me that there are several problems with the current Administration.

Andy Whiteman said...

Is a City Administrator and/or a Public Information Officer position really necessary? Can other public officials overlap and accomplish the same results? If these positions are eliminated will there be any real impact in city administration other than saving taxpayer's dollars?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

From my understanding the PIO was also tasks with business licenese. Who will do the business licenses for the City if there is no PIO?

A license is where the government takes your rights away, then sells it back to you.

hardy har har.

Anonymous said...

The first administrator for Raytown was not until 1995. The second was in 1999. Since then there has been one.

Anonymous said...

What about those secret meetings under Bower? Wasn't there a case were Bower met with groups of aldermen to discuss actual policy and city business? Ive heard this was the case with his administration. Where was the outrage then?

I like your name for these guys 7:42, the THREE AMIGOS!

Now we have to hear these amigos that want to complain about groups of aldermen meeting with Fire to get information about problems that our "professional administration" created, they even wrote a letter to the public about these meeting.

Anonymous said...

The truth is that there are TOO MANY city employees. With the departurer of the city administrator and the public information officier maybe these positions shouldn't be filled. If you look at the state statues for a 4th class city you won't find either of these positions mentioned. Why, maybe because they are not needed?? By rejecting the charter form of government many times I believe that Raytown wants to stay 4th class, therefore following 4th class city statues.

Anonymous said...

6:33 I think you are wrong. The old Mayor intimidated everyone to his way or the highway. This Mayor recognizes the right of those elected to have their say and representing the public that voted them in. This Mayor also gets out there and goes to things where the other did not. Spineless? Really? It appears to me that he just knows when to let others do their jobs or have their say!

Anonymous said...

Is anyone at City Hall doing anything? What happened to the string of new businesses and redevelopment we were having? It wasn't the kind of stuff that could erased challenged schools or reduced demographics, but it sure cleaned up several nasty locations and intersections.

How about code enforcement...the slring rains have arrived and with them come the annual barrage of unruly and unticketed yards.

We need a real leader at city hall!

Anonymous said...

The only reason Nesbitt, Frank, and Bower wanted a city administrator is because they were too lazy to do the job that they were elected to do. Let the Mayor oversee the department heads for a while and see how it works, we might just find out that the CA's position isn't near as important as some might think it is.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the next one to jump the "Good Ship Lollypop" is John Benson. He has resigned.

Anonymous said...

The Titanic is taking on some water...and an iceberg...and the steering has gone out...lifeboats have been burned and it's outta gas. Can KCMO just annex us already???

Anonymous said...

Although today is yet again gray and rainy the sun is shining on city hall with the news John Benson has turned in his notice.

The only thing better is when we learn the director of EMS has turned in his notice.

I guess one step at a time

Anonymous said...

With one more person in a leadership role at city hall leaving it makes you believe they know something we the general public doesn't.

Could it be that the claims from the fire deportment that the city is brook be the underlining issue?

I know I sure wonder and to think if that is the case why is the mayor and alderman hiding the truth from all of us.

Paul Livius said...

A gentle reminder for our bloggers. If you feel it is necessary to use vulgar language you are wasting your time typing a message to this blog. It will be deleted. That includes blanking out key letters to words, etc., etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

Just think how much we will save without all that unneeded help at city hall.

Now if we can cleanup the chair warmers downstairs.

Raytown can once again be a great 4th class city the voters want it to be.

Anonymous said...

Good to see the fire district has once again run to the media...this time to promote that theyre the first in the country to utilize thermal imaging masks. Last week they ran tot he media to cry about how little they are funded and that they are the victims of a 9 year old tax increment financing plan. So, which is it? Are they struggling or do they have enough in the coffers to be the first in the nation to purchase a new technology?

Can someone please get the former EMS guy's opinion? That's what we do now, right?

Anonymous said...

Best of luck to Mr. Benson. It will be hard to replace him.

Anonymous said...

The only thing the Fire Department was speed up the timetable which all this happened. They thought they had three more years of gravy before the sheep figured things out. Since they broke the story it's every man for him self. Sorry Mr Mayor but the Captain must go down with the ship.

Anonymous said...

How is it every night I turn on the news the only good things I hear are about the Firefighters and if they are not on its another scandal with the City.

Anonymous said...

Now if the three Alderman who have been on the BOA way to long and have been part of the Bower downfall of Raytown would step down, we could once again live in a happy place.

A place with a future and not just a past!

Anonymous said...

Wonder who will be the next to seperate service? Loughry or Jonesi Those are the only two department heads left. My guess is....Both, one will choose to leave and one will have the choice made for them.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, all we need to get rid of now is our inept finance director that cannot produce any of the paperwork the Fire Dept. is requesting and the lame EMS Director who has so many flames around him that the song "Ring of Fire" seems appropriate. Perhaps the Mayor needs a total house cleaning to regain control.

Anonymous said...

How much more proof does the Mayor need, to figure out that there are grave problems with the EMS department? In the last week Channel 41 has ran two stories on that Department. One in which a person died in a house fire, when KC EMS were on the scene with Raytown EMS, but Raytown would not KC transport the patient. The other story shows that on many occasions Raytown only has one ambulance in service ( instead of the 2/24, that was promised with the Public Safety Sales Tax). Last year KC EMS responded into Raytown 336 times and Raytown responded for them 0. What is it going to take before someone at City Hall recognizes this problem???????? Wake Up

Anonymous said...

If Frank. Nesbitt and Bower couldn't run the city what makes you think this mayor can? He is just another Beeler only sitting in the mayors chair not the police chiefs.

Steve Meyers said...

Numerous citizens and Brooking Eagle Reporter Kris Collins all arrive at the City Council meeting Tuesday evening on time with several along with Kris staying the entire meeting. Granted the meeting was lengthy lasting till 10 PM and no doubt at times I'm sure can be quite a task to stay interesting. Now that I've referenced a professional journalist Kris Collins, Raytown Times Randy rolled into the meeting about a half hour late, took probably 3/4 smoke/restroom breaks and did his usual bail out around 9:15. I'm sure there will be a "I was ill" excuse surface, but since this is a very well established pattern of behavior that flag just doesn't fly with any validity does it... Any wonder a good portion of his reporting is often incorrect!!! MIA Randy...

Anonymous said...

I would urge every citizen to contact their alderman and ask them to vote against Cloud 9. This place is bad news. Drive over to 87th street and take a look at the old pizza hut. Do you want that in our city? The city council talks about people moving here when Cerner comes to town. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but they won't happen if our city looks like a ghetto and that is exactly what this business is. PLEASE MAKE THAT CALL TODAY AND CALL THE MAYOR AS WELL. Don't let these people try and talk you into thinking it is a good thing.

Andy Whiteman said...

When I decided to get out of the ghetto, no realtor would list my house and suggested an auctioneer. The auctioneer said that it was impossible to get loan value at auction in Raytown. I spoke with an investor who told me Raytown was so bad that she didn't want to buy a house in Raytown. I finally listed it as a short sale which sold to a different investor. He apparently remodeled it as a rental before he put it up for sale. It was on the market a long time. I felt it was over priced but he finally sold it.

Raytown needs to improve itself to get rid of the ghetto image and bring back property values!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:56 did you see the same story I did? The said they spent less than $2000.00 on them. City Hall wastes that on a study to see if a study is needed. Since you brought it up when did it become wrong to hold people accountable for how they are spending our tax dollars. The fire department didn't say they were struggling they said they don't have the money to spare for things they didn't agree to. I am not struggling financially, but I don't have enough laying around that I don't care how the City wastes it. It's really the same thing. Finally, if the fire department was just being petty why is everyone running for the exit at city hall.

Anonymous said...

I love how people blam the Fire District for all the bad press Raytown has gotten over the last month. 1st, Joe Creamer is the person who brought the media into the mix, 2nd, With all that has been said no one has proved the Fire District is wrong in their claims, 3rd, Raytown EMS shuts down 80 days a year and Kansas City is called 350 times, then Raytown EMS lets a woman die because they wanted to make a point to KCFD. Comment the dots on that one and the two stories make a lot more sense. Blaming the Fire District for this is like blaming the police for arresting you for driving drunk and finding the dead body you stashed in the trunk.

Anonymous said...

I count 4 department heads to go

Finance Director
EMS Director
Parks Director
City Clerk

We will be better off with out all of them.

And that is me being polite as I am sure we all know the damage they have done.

Anonymous said...

The city clerk does a horrible job, does she still have to pay some outside firm to do her minutes? She also presents a poor image to the people that she comes in contact with on a day to day basis. Why is she still here?

Anonymous said...

Here is to May 18th, at 10:32PM You are obviously in need of sleep and some medical attention. Oh man little do you know. You with your mouth have done tons of damage without even know what you are talking about

Anonymous said...

For the members of the Board of Alderman

Why have you not made Raytown smoke free?

Other communities around us are not only now smoke free, but changing the age to purchases cigarettes to 21.

These other communities are concerned about the health impact and image of their city.

One of our overly outspoken religious board members has taken the position to keep government out of businesses, but is a member of the same Church that held the city hostage in the dark ages for years, by not letting sales tax generating business into the city that sold liquor of other products the CHURCH decided was a SIN.

This same member who often in the past wanted the city to take a position of not allowing anymore section 8 or other lower income housing stating "We don't need THOSE people in Raytown". Now is that being the good CHURCH member that doesn't want to help those in need.

In the end it is these same closed minded board members that are holding Raytown back to this day. They refuse to make Raytown a safe place to raise a family, while they insult low income families.

They are against bring in sales tax generating businesses while hiding the fact from general public of the decline in city services for their support of projects like Wal-Mart.

They like too many in their Republican party of bigger and bigger government have allowed the current city administrator to create more and more positions while doing less and less for the public they serve.

All of this is why people keep moving and / or shopping Lee Summit. A family and smoke free community that is not weekly on the news trying to hide facts from it's citizens.

Anonymous said...

You cannot get a group of part-time politicians to run the city's day-to-day operations. Are you out of your mind? The BOA can't even agree on when to meet. And what do you do when a project comes up and it fails the Board vote. That strikes me as funny (more like no sense), but all the work that goes into preparing projects including cost funding, man-power, bids, site surveys on and on and on, to then take the project to the Board to only be shot down and nitpicked to pieces. What a waste of time and energy and money. This micro managing Board of Aldermen has second guess and underminded city staff right out of the town (John Benson, Mr. Sharma). And now they want to run the city??? What a croak!!!

You have to have full-time professionals (educated, experienced) in city government to run city government. Sure, hate them, cuss them, belittle them, but at the end of the day, their accountable to the Mayor and Board for their work.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, why does the news keep interviewing the past EMS Director? Wasn't he run ou of town for conduct unbecoming of a Department Head. I.e. hooking up with a subordinate employee within his department? Yeah, he'd be a good one to ask about Raytown EMS operations. What, Kanye West wasn't available?

GADSDEN said...

Andy, Andy, I know that you hate Raytown with a passion. You were glad to get out of the ghetto, but you know Andy I do not think that I am living in a ghetto. Things are not the way they used to
be matter of fact the world is not what it used to be. Matter of fact the world and this country is
not in the best shape either.

You know what, you do not live here anymore so why; do you want to be involved in all Raytown
affairs.

Why if you do not have anything good to say then just button up or suck it up what ever.

You may be a very smart man, after all you moved from the ghetto, but I do not care to hear
from you and their may be others that are fed up with your rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

9:57 AM 5/19

A sure sign of your tie to city hall is being upset with a blogger that believes Raytown would be better off without any of the four remaining department head positions that have not resigned as of date.

I didn't see any name calling from them or even mention of why they are of their opinion just those four need to go.

However, like several of those Alderman who served with Bower you find it required to attack others like a bully where any well educated person would have asked why or could you provide supporting facts.

Our city will not heal until our Alderman step up and stop blaming everyone for the mess of failed pass administrations. Nor can we are any group move forward when our elected official publicly and privately attack the citizens for speaking their minds.

I too would like to know the whys that I mention and I hope 10:32 5/18 could provide some more information.

As for you 9:57 5/19, I hope you can learn how to act with respect to others opinions, which may even be fact supported if you would check, without acting as hateful as the Republican candidate for President.

America and Raytown should receive more respect than that

Art

Anonymous said...

I would like for some of you that are chronic complainers about the city from the employees to the BOA would get up out of your chair and run for office, volunteer or maybe work for the city and see what a thankless job it is. Then I could sit back and complain about every breath you take.

Anonymous said...

I just read the Brooking Eagle article about Raytown EMS and my only thought is OH MY GOD! How is this allowed to happen? They turn off one of two ambulances 1/4 of the time because no one wants to work? I own my own business and if I don't have the staff, I have to work why does Doug Jonesi not get in the ambulance anytime they short staffed? The most telling part was the statement by Jonesi about ansuring mutual aid is only ordered when it is really warranted . This explains why Raytown EMS is currently being investigated by the State of MO for waiting 8 minutes for a Raytown unit when 2 KCFD units were already onscene. Hope the victim's family reads the story and retains an attorney to help Doug Jonesi decide what warrants mutual aid.

Anonymous said...

As unpopular as the reality may be, there are only two ways for this community to improve roads/sewer, EMS, PD support, planning/development, parks, streetlighting, sidewalks, etc.

1. Get annexed by KCMO which has its own probs, or

2. Increase taxes to cover the costs associated with improvement.

All in all, property taxes in R-Town are pretty low.

We can dump every person at city hall and the cost savings wouldn't be enough to do any of the things we claim we want. People gripe about Sharma's salary, but even if he made a million bucks, how many roads, sidewalks, sewers, etc do you think that would really improve???

Anonymous said...

You know whether you agree with Joe Creamer or not at least he puts his name to what he writes in regards to the city.

Anonymous said...

10:38

This board Micro-Manages? How so? You are right it is their responsibility to hold the staff members accountable. It seems to me that wasnt the case for several years but is now. Read a paper beside the Raytown Times and get a clue. I for one am happy that there are some changes, maybe we can get some more accountability FOR A CHANGE!

Anonymous said...

The last comment is so on the mark. The one before it is from fantasy land. Someone needs to tell joe creamer it is not all about him!

Anonymous said...

9:43

Maybe Creamer shouldnt sign his name or go to the news because it makes this town look bad, bad that we previously elected someone as mentality limited as himself.