Sunday, June 26, 2016

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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BREAKING NEWS
RAYTOWN, Mo. Raytown’s City Hall and the headquarters of its Police Department have been ordered closed because of an airborne hazard in the building.

A spokesman said air quality tests at the city’s police headquarters indicated high levels of what it called volatile organic compounds. Those levels exceeded limits set for safe occupancy by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Officials said City Hall will be closed Friday for additional tests.

Police headquarters will be closed until crews can find the source of the hazard.

The Police Department said it's working with Kansas City and Lee's Summit to find temporary facilities.

Anyone requiring services from the Raytown Police Department will need to call 911 or 816-737-6020.   SOURCE KMBC TV 9     
USE THIS LINK . . . KMBCTV9

KCTV5 NEWS STORY
To view the KC TV 5 news story on the closing of Raytown City Hall . . . USE THE FOLLOWING LINK
KCTV5 VIDEO




PAUL'S NOTES: I made a notation in this week’s Paul Livius Report regarding the hiring of Mr. Ronald A. Williamson  for a fee of $250 per hour to fill in for the position recently vacated by John Benson, Raytown’s former Director of Development and Public Affairs. The note is highlighted in red in this week's Paul Livius Report. Greg told me he already had begun a story about the BOA's decision to hire Strategic Government Resources to conduct a search for a new City Administrator. We agreed the question I asked has merit, and thought it would stand on its own without a story. So we left the “note to Greg” in this week’s Report.
 


The Paul Livius Report BY PAUL LIVIUS
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – June 21, 2016
Mayor McDonough said in 1985 the Raytown Amateur Radio Club was founded at the request of the Raytown Police Department.  He recognized Abigail Brown as a third generation member of the Raytown Amateur Radio Club.  Mayor McDonough said Ms. Brown’s grandfather, John Brown, Jr. was one of the founding members.  The Raytown Amateur Radio Club operators provide emergency communication capabilities in times of disaster, both natural and man-made and since its formation, Raytown ARC has grown to a membership of over 70 members and has consistently placed among the top five amateur radio clubs in its class nationwide at the annual ARRL Field Day Event.  The Raytown Amateur Radio Club, KOGQ, on June 25, 2016 will participate with other ham radio operators worldwide, by setting up their equipment for a 24 hour emergency drill field day to test radios and the skills of their operation.  The Raytown Amateur Radio Club does a field day event every year and has set up behind the Raytown City Hall for the past 25 years and the Department of Homeland Defense has recognized this event as a Homeland Defense Emergency Exercise.  Mayor McDonough said he recognizes the Raytown Amateur Radio Club declares June 25, 2016 as Amateur Radio Day in the City of Raytown.

The Board passed a resolution approving an agreement for planning advisory services with Ronald A. Williamson.  With the current vacancy of the Director of Development and Public Affairs position there is a void in staffing for planning and zoning services.  To fill this void it is proposed the City enter into an agreement with Ronald A. Williamson.  As described in Article I of the proposed agreement the type of planning services that Mr. Williamson would provide include:

A. Preparation of staff reports on various zoning and development applications for the Planning & Zoning Commission, Board of Zoning Adjustment, and Board of Aldermen meetings;

B. Preparation of special studies, surveys, designs and reports which may include zoning and subdivision regulations amendments, redevelopment and other matters in the field of planning;

C. Attending meetings with City Staff as needed; and

D. Attending meetings of the Raytown Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Zoning Adjustment, Board of Aldermen and other organizations and committees, as needed.

The Agreement is temporary in nature and is proposed to be in place until the City has hired staff that can again provide these services internally.  Alderman Moore said this was a lot of money if the city was going to pay Mr. Williamson $210 per hour for 40 hours a week is $36,400 per month.  Mahesh Sharma said it wouldn’t be 40 hours a week, but only as needed and only until John Benson’s replacement could be found.  Alderman Moore said the city has not even started the process of interviewing.  He said he would like to see someone hired from within the department.  Note to Greg – How can Williamson do all of John Benson’s work in less than 40 hours unless John Benson wasn’t working a full 40 hours but getting paid full salary.

The Board passed a resolution approving an agreement with Strategic Government Resources for the recruitment of a city administrator by a vote of 6 to 3 (one member abstaining). Moore asked Debbie Duncan, Human Resource Manager, if the Board was expected to vote for a firm without talking with them.  Alderman Josh Greene said the Board had all the information in their packets.  He recommended Strategic Government Resources and made that motion.  Alderman Moore said there were originally four firms and it has been narrowed down to two firms.  This decision could affect the city for the next eight to ten years.  Alderman Van Buskirk said he liked Colin Baenzinger and Associates.  Alderman Jason Greene said he didn’t see any distinct difference.

On March 22, 2016 the Board of Aldermen approved the preliminary design contract for Improvements to the 83rd Street Bridge which is one half mile east of Raytown Road.  As a part of the contract, which was awarded to Olsson Associates, the findings from the preliminary study and design would be presented to the Board of Aldermen.  Since the time of the contract award, Olsson has completed the preliminary design analysis and has recommended the replacement of the 83rd Street Bridge with a two-span bridge.   Grant Luckenbill and Jamie Fain spoke to the Board during a study session.  They are looking at four options:

·         Option 1 will be a 2 Span Prestressed Girder Bridge at a cost of $2,160,000

·         Option 2 will replace the Superstructure, salvage the columns and replace for 2,300,000 

·         Option 3 will be a Prestressed Arch Bridge costing $2,680,000

·         Option 4 is a Single Span Prestressed Girder Bridge for $2,410,000

Olsson Associates are recommending Option 1.  This bridge will be made of concrete, will require no painting, and will last for years if properly maintained.  The estimates for each option includes all construction costs plus 15% contingency costs, engineering costs, utility relocation costs of $85,000 and construction inspections.

Alderman Mock said Mr. Luckenbill had indicated they wanted to do this project next summer.  He asked why the project couldn’t be started in the winter.  Mr. Luckenbill said their traffic study indicated there are 3,900 cars that travel 83rd Street daily, not counting school buses.  They want to do the project while school is out.  Alderman Mock asked if the bridge is safe enough to wait until next summer.  Mr. Fain said they don’t know for sure because of the amount of corrosion on the primary reinforcing on the bridge deck.  Alderman Teeman asked which option will be the least expensive to maintain on an annual basis.  He was told it is option 1.  Mayor McDonough asked about the life span of the new bridge.  Mr. Luckenbill said 75 to 100 years if properly maintained.  Alderman Aziere asked how long the project will take to complete, start to finish.  It will take 75 to 90 days.

BY GREG WALTERS
Aldermen Approve
Head Hunter Expense
Last Tuesday the Raytown Board of Aldermen voted to hire a corporate head hunting firm named Strategic Government Resources to conduct a search for a City Administrator. The cost for the services provided by Strategic Government Resources (SGR) is set at $27,000.

No doubt there are many reading this wonder “what’s wrong with that”. Consider the following.

All four of the City’s Administrator’s beginning with Andy McCown in 1994 and continued with his successors, Curt Wenson, Michael Miller and Mahesh Sharma, were hired without the help of professional headhunters.

To read the accolades often espoused by letter writers to the local newspapers for the wonderful services offered by our past City Administrators, Raytown is batting one thousand in choosing City Administrators. On average, their tenure with the city has been lengthy. The guidance they have given the city has been a qualified success according to the local media. So why spend $27,000 of the taxpayer’s money when Raytown has a track record of success in hiring City Administrators?

I sat on the Board of Aldermen for the hiring of each of Raytown’s City Administrators.

It is not a complicated process.

You advertise with the Missouri Municipal League, you contact and advertise with the professional trade group that represents city administrators. Then get ready for a lot of applicants. Believe me, there is not a shortage of individuals willing to prove their worth as the Administrator of a city.

You have your Human Resources Administrator ride herd on the search and provide a contact for interested applicants. Yes, Raytown has an HR Administrator. Her name is Debbie Duncan.

The HR Administrator provides the applications to the Mayor and Board for review.

The Board then picks the most promising applicants and interview them individually. Then it is decision time. The Board either accepts one of the applicants or restarts the process.

The worst part of this “deal” approved by the Board of Aldermen is the choice they have made to do the search for them. They are fishing in waters that do not fit Raytown’s needs or pocket book. Here is a sampling of three City Administrator searches currently conducted by Strategic Government Resources. The information came from the SGR website
Use this link to view . . . SGR WEBSITE

CITY OF DAVENPORT, IOWA - "Nestled in the heart of America along the mighty Mississippi River, Davenport, Iowa, is a bustling, vibrant community of more than 100,000 people. Located halfway between Chicago and Des Moines in Scott County, with easy access to I-80 and I-74, Davenport covers 65 square miles, is the third largest city in Iowa, the largest of the Quad Cities with a regional population of roughly 385,000 people, and has been declared “The Most Livable Small City in America.”

PINEY POINT, TEXAS - "The median income is $230,000 and the average home value is $2.1 million. Residential growth is limited with no surrounding land to annex and the number of lots are fixed. Older homes are sold at a premium and replaced with new homes that double or triple the value in this extremely desirable community."

WILLISTON, NORTH DAKOTA - "While population growth in the area has started to level off recently, the City of Williston experienced explosive growth over the past several years due to increased activity in the oil and gas industry. The City has grown 210% in size since 2010, jumping from a population of 12,120 to 27,763. This prosperous community has managed its incredible growth issues with great success, being named the fastest growing micropolitan (cities under 50,000) in the nation for the last five years."

Can anyone reading this page, and that includes the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, explain what an inner-ring suburb, with all of its land developed and no room for growth, have in common with communities that have a growth rate of 210%, a median income of $210,000 per person, or a population exceeding 100,000?

Could it be the Mayor and Board are over-reaching in their search for a new City Administrator?

The other concern is the rates the city will be charged for the services rendered by Strategic Government Resources (SGR).
SGR will charge the city a flat fee of $1500 to prepare a brochure of the city. Let’s say they received 15 applicants for the job. It becomes an expense of $100 per candidate to view material already in place on the city’s award winning website.

Any copies prepared by the SGR will cost the city 23 cents per copy (industry standards are 5 cents per copy) PLUS binding fees (depending on the binding, the cost could be upwards of $3.00 per bound copy). The city will be required to pay any employee of SGR who travels to the city a per diem of $50 per day for meal PLUS mileage based on the current IRS rate. Travel expenses will be paid by the city. All of this and more will be paid to SGR for just preparing the information to go out prospective applicants.
Other expenses include:

$200 for each recorded online interview (many people will recognize this as SKYPE). Incidentally SKYPE is avaiable to the public for free on the Wonderful World Wide Web.

$350 per candidate for a comprehensive media report.

$300 per candidate for a comprehensive background check prepared by a licensed, private investigator. (information readily available to any police department, including Raytown)

$150 per candidate for a psychometric assessment. (a branch of psychology dealing with the measurement of mental traits, capacities, and processes)

Keep in mind, it is standard business practice for corporate head hunters to work both sides of the deal. The city pays for them to find an applicant. The applicant also uses their services to find the city.

Are the prices listed out of line?

Maybe not for a city with a population of 100,000, or a median residential income of $230,000, or a city that has grown 210% in size in the past six years.

Raytown is not in that league. There is nothing to be gained by pretending to be a size we are not, with an annual income we do not have or a growth record that does not exist.

The Mayor and Board would be better of using the resources at hand, like the Missouri Municipal League and professional associations that represent City Administrators.

In fairness to members of the Board of Aldermen it should be noted that not everyone agreed with the expense.

HOW THEY VOTED: 
On the question of hiring Strategic Government Resources.
VOTING YES: Jason Greene, Josh Greene, Jim Aziere, Bill VanBuskirk,  Mark Moore, 
                     Janet Emerson

VOTING NO:   Karen Black, Steve Meyers, Steve Mock

ABSTAIN:        Eric Teeman


Take Me Out to the Ball Game!
Saturday night some friends and I attended a Royals baseball game. Kansas City was hosting the Houston Astros, so the match-up was expected be a good one.

Unfortunately, the game was good only if you were a Houston fan.

Bored with the game, I took advantage of some excellent seats we had in left field and took a few pictures to share.

PICTURE ONE:
I call this photo “The Ball Boys Chair”. The ball boy was warming up left fielder Alex Gordon between innings. So I took a picture of his chair and helmet in his absence.

As for the Royals, they were just one short of matching the Astros in hits. But they left a ton of men on base with many base running errors that cut short potentially big innings.




PICTURE TWO:
I do not know what type of insect this is --- it landed on the rail in front of my seat and stayed for the longest time.
I call this one “The Wicked Looking Bug”.
I wonder if it may have been the reason there was a bird flying into the wind in left field for most of the game. We speculate it was eating dinner while on the wing.
There were a few bright spots for the Royals in the game as well. Alex Gordon smashed a home run into the right field seats on his return to the line up.
The big surprise was Drew Butera, the back up catcher for the Royals. He pitched in relief in the ninth inning, striking out one and retiring two other hits on pop up and a grounder.
Butera also battedWhich is rare for a pitcher to do in the American League. At his one time at bat he drove in a run with a double to right center field.


. . . CONTINUING NEWS . . .
FIRE DISTRICT RELEASES VIDEO
VIDEO AND DOCUMENTS OF JUNE 6TH MEETING 
The Raytown Fire Protection District has released the video and documents of the Public Information Hearing held on June 6th. The video shows he entire presentation by Raytown Fire Chief Matt Mace. Supporting documentation used in the presentation were also released. The topic of the meeting was the 350 Live (Walmart) TIF package and its impact on Raytown.
Use this link to view . . .  VIDEO
Use this link to view . . . DOCUMENTS

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33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Super Splash smoking area speaks volumes about the mind set of the Park Board. Super Splash is built for the young, to give them a place to gather where they can be safe. So as role models we set up smoking areas. From what I can tell most of the people using Super Splash do not live in Raytown. Particularly when you see busloads of kids dropped off there by day cares not in the Raytown area. They may be making more money than last year but it is a false economy. They will still be operating in the red at the end of the year. Which means they are really losing money. Please don't tell me the pool should not make money. The pools in Lee's Summit, Oceans of Fun, even COCO Keys makes money. Why not Raytown's?

Anonymous said...

I figured that Jason, Janet and Rick would had voted no, they do not want to disappoint the Mayor.

Anonymous said...

210.00 an hour. What a waste And how about the elected officials that voted for it.Should have passed the charter.

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of politicians who run for office and then start hiring outsiders to make their decisions. Don't they know that all they are doing is driving the price up when they bring in consultants to make their decisions for them?

Anonymous said...

I just read another of Joe Cramer's attacks on his list of enemies in the raytown times. This week he went after former Mayor Sue Frank. He names her as the reason Walmart did not open a store in downtown Raytown. Joe must have been away when the decision was reached. Mayor David Bower and the majority of his city council approved the application after many very long public meetings. It was Walmart that pulled the project. I also remember the news paper article in the Raytown Times about Walmart's decision not to build the grocery store. The spokesman for Walmart said it was clear the majority of people did not want the store opened on the green space in downtown raytown.

So Walmart pulled the plug on the project. At least they listened.

Bower and Creamer did not. I think the failure to deliver the store was one of thereasons bower did not run for re-election. At least he was smart enough to see his mistake.

Creamers stand, which was exactly the same as Bowers, was very pro Walmart. His residency problems proved to be enough to cause to finish a humiliating third place and lose his seat to a new comer to the Raytown City Council, Karen Black.

Tim Boone said...

The reason they have to hire people to make decision for them is because( for the most part) they don't know anything about the process or details of those jobs they are being asked to make decisions about. There's a reason the BOA are very vocal for 2 hours during meetings on the slope of a driveway into a parking lot or if somebody's fence is too high or too low but they can't (or won't) get involved beyond general fluff questions in or out of their public meetings for more than 2 minutes about detailed or technical parts of the city's operation. It's because they don't know and don't want to look foolish in front of everybody trying to fake it. I'll give Alderman Myers credit for admitting during the last meeting that he didn't read the materials fully and wasn't prepared to make a decision, but are we willing to accept that? Alderman Aziere jumps into it and says he had to call his son to ask him the best way to handle the process, are we willing to accept that? The majority of them all but begged the HR Director to make the decision for them on choosing a firm for the Administrator search. There's nothing wrong with using your team of professionals to advise you in your decision making. But once you realize that your teams advice is the reason for your constant issues and you're unhappy with the outcome, you have to take it upon yourself to put in the time to educate yourself. Not just a little, not just enough to participate in the conversation, but really get into the guts of what makes it tick and help lead the discussion toward a resolution. Until they realize their fate and ours as citizens requires them to dedicate all the time and effort they have when not taking care of their families to these issues and really lead the way, we should assume the only way we can drive positive change forward in Raytown is to show up to the meeting and drive it forward ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Creamer just GO AWAY, no one cares what he thinks. He's a washed up loser politician. He was part of the mess that the new mayor and board are left to deal with. Yes, he lost his election because he wasn't living in his ward. Joe, sometimes the voters are smarter than you give them credit for.

Anonymous said...

Professional headhunters were used to hire Michael Miller. And what a bozo he turned out to be. The City hired a professional headhunter firm so they can hire a professional job seeker. What a complete waste of taxpayer dollars in bringing in people who exaggerate, or flat out lie about their experience, then come onboard and totally screw everything up, before their early departure.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Joe Creamer and the present Mayor happened to be at the same location eating breakfast on Sunday morning. Surprised that aspiring fictional wanna be journalist didn't pass the Mayor a bully note like some 4th grader back in the day.

Anonymous said...

Mark Moore can ask some of the dumbest questions. How long will it take to hire a ca and someone to fill John Bensons job. It is like asking when is it going to rain. God gives each one of us a brain I suggest we use it.

Anonymous said...

I don't care much at all for Joe; but seriously this comment sounds like a 4 th grader bully antics as well.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, is there really no one familiar with Raytown who can come in and take control of the Codes/Development/Economic Development or City Administrator roles? Cryin out loud, this shouldn't be that hard.

Anonymous said...

Seriously. I think your question is already answered by an earlier comment. Tim Boone wrote:

The reason they have to hire people to make decision for them is because( for the most part) they don't know anything about the process or details of those jobs they are being asked to make decisions about. There's a reason the BOA are very vocal for 2 hours during meetings on the slope of a driveway into a parking lot or if somebody's fence is too high or too low but they can't (or won't) get involved beyond general fluff questions in or out of their public meetings for more than 2 minutes about detailed or technical parts of the city's operation. It's because they don't know and don't want to look foolish in front of everybody trying to fake it. I'll give Alderman Myers credit for admitting during the last meeting that he didn't read the materials fully and wasn't prepared to make a decision, but are we willing to accept that? Alderman Aziere jumps into it and says he had to call his son to ask him the best way to handle the process, are we willing to accept that? The majority of them all but begged the HR Director to make the decision for them on choosing a firm for the Administrator search. There's nothing wrong with using your team of professionals to advise you in your decision making. But once you realize that your teams advice is the reason for your constant issues and you're unhappy with the outcome, you have to take it upon yourself to put in the time to educate yourself. Not just a little, not just enough to participate in the conversation, but really get into the guts of what makes it tick and help lead the discussion toward a resolution. Until they realize their fate and ours as citizens requires them to dedicate all the time and effort they have when not taking care of their families to these issues and really lead the way, we should assume the only way we can drive positive change forward in Raytown is to show up to the meeting and drive it forward ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:00PM -

No, it isn't that hard. But, you have to think back to when Sharma wanted more money. Jim Aziere laminated that if they didn't give him more, he would quit and go elsewhere. Then "we, the Board, would have to begin the tedious task of finding a new city administrator." In other words, it would mean they'd have to work more than 5-6 hours a week that they spend at the BOA meetings. They only get a small stipend, certainly not enough to justify spending hours looking over resumes. If they don't trust the HR director, Debbie Duncan, to do her job, then why is she there?

Anonymous said...

We need to help stop some of the crimes that are going on in Raytown. We are having some guys in hoods doing some very foolish things like trying to beat the door down at our gun store Blue Steel at 3:00 am June 21st. Then armed robbery at Sonic on Raytown Rd. Now today I was told hoodie guys hit places at 87th and Raytown Rd. If you have information please HELP before someone is hurt or killed! I have posted stuff on our page Raytown Supports Local because I feel everyone has a right to know what is going on in our community. Please share this info! Elisa Breitenbach

Anonymous said...

Has anyone checked on Joe Creamer?

Maybe the heat did get to him being he didn't have a letter in the paper this week.

Anonymous said...

I can almost assure you that whoever is picked to the city administrator position will be chosen based upon an over inflated resume relied to purely by deceit and deception to their ability to perform. They will most likely screw things up in a hurried attempt to cover up for their ineptitude and thereby cause Raytown even greater harm and cost the taxpayer's more money. We've seen it time and time again. It's a never ending carnival ride of stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Alas, we are supposed to feel confident that Mark Laughry is the interim City Administrator? He doesn't have the best track record an I a major part of the TIF issue between the Fire District and the City. And I would bet you he got a hefty pay hike to the title change as well. Way to go guys.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon 6:22. Not only was he a major part of the TIF issue, he also quit the City to go work elsewhere and was hired back some 6 months later. Google Mark Loughry & Bashor Kansas, to find some interesting articles about his previous employment as a City Administrator. Not very encouraging.

Anonymous said...

What's going on at the police station? What is "some kind of health scare"? I heard they closed the police station and are staging at the fire house. Should we be concerned?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Greg and Paul for the quick response to the problem at the police station. You guys are always on top of what's happening around town.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how Randy and Joe are going to spin the health issues at city hall into a swipe against the fire district. If they are so greedy and difficult why would would they help out the cops?

Anonymous said...

They got the press release. That's real tough to "stay on top of what's happening around town".

Wilbur said...

Yeah, they got a press release. Neither of the two newspapers in town have picked it up. The other website about Raytown didn't pick it up. So, yeah, they got a press release!

Anonymous said...

I figured you and the rest of the papers would have covered the Fire Department open house and the introduction of the two new trucks.

Anonymous said...

Reading these previous responses shows just how negative people can SPIN news. For some it's not about a health issue it's instead about how they can slam others.. Very pathetic

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting the Raytown Police relocated to Raytown Fire Station No. 1 to run their operation. I wonder what the toxic mess is at city hall (no pun intended)!

Respect The Vote said...

The biggest joke is the people of Raytown voted and don't want to be a charter city so why are the elected official forcing us to have a city administrator.

If the mayor cannot oversee things like any other 4th class city he needs to resign!

Groucho K. Marx said...

Anon 7:25 AM-
The substance found at RCH- as was reported to me by a desker at KSHB- was "formaldehyde."

Considering all the 'dead weight' at City Hall- there's a joke there somewhere but I won't go there. ;)

Anonymous said...

Way to be an insensitive jerk. How about you think of the employees who have been breathing this for 40 or more hours a week? Do some research, it can cause cancer.

Anonymous said...

Get smart folks. Do you want to send the city down the toilet the current mayor nor any past mayors has or had the knowledge to run the city and do it like it should be done. You guys have drunk the kool aid of seven alderman and the mayor who goes to city daily and pretends to run the city he is only a ribbon cutting mayor.

Anonymous said...

Yep...he continues to call himself the CEO of the city. A ceo is capable of reciting the budget forward and backward while also making difficult decisions without running downstairs for permission.

Anonymous said...

Hey 1:35 you are mistaken
This Mayor works with the staff to help run the city AND cuts ribbons too