Sunday, August 28, 2016


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Good Intentions Fall Short

The Raytown School District has decided to enter students in raffle for a new Ford Focus at the end of the school year for high school students with 95% attendance or better.

The plan also calls for students who reach the 95% attendance or better threshold  to be entered in monthly drawing for a $50 gift certificate.

According to the Raytown School District website news story the purpose of the raffle is two fold. One is to encourage students to attend classes. Two is to help the School District receive more funds from the State based on number of students in their seats during the school year. School District funding is based on attendance rather than enrollment.

OUR VIEW . . .
Raytown is not the first School District to use this scheme. It has been widely used in New York State, California and Texas for a number of years. The stories we have researched on the system are all about how they are started. We have yet to find a story showing the results. And by results we mean improved grades and improved attendance.

A newspaper story out of Berkely, California pretty much shows the mindset behind the pay for attendance scheme. The following article shows the end-game goal:

“Some (school districts) have asked families with children who missed school for avoidable reasons such as family trips to reimburse schools the $30-$50 a day the absence cost in lost funding, or at least consider having a child with the sniffles or a stomach ache show up for the first part of the day so he or she can be counted before going home sick.”

Let’s be plain. The raffle is an attempt to bribe students to attend school. It sends the wrong message.  The reason someone should go to school is to learn to better one self. Not to enter a raffle.

It is very clear why the Raytown School District has hatched the program. They see a way to capture more funding from the state for the School District. In other words, they are gaming the system.

We applaud the School District’s attempt to address lowered attendance figures. But the solution they have come up with sends the wrong message to young, impressionable minds.

Local Developer Backing
Away from Zoning Agreement
Greg Stervinou Construction has submitted plans for a retail dollar store on 63rd Street just east of Blue Ridge Elementary Grade School. But he neglected to include the plans for the houses that are supposed to be built as well.

At the last Board of Aldermen meeting Greg Stervinou Construction submitted plans for a retail dollar store outlet 63rd Street.

Problem is, the plans did not include a previous agreement between Stervinou and the Board of Aldermen to build four residential homes on the property as well.

Alderman Eric Teeman said there were houses in the first plan and wanted to know why they aren’t in the second plan.  Mr. Ralph Monaco, speaking on behalf of Sterveninou said the project was behind schedule on the retail component.  They had been concentrating on getting the retail store open first, and then they will come back and put in the houses.

The Board’s agreement with Stervinou was explicit when it was originally passed. Mr. Monaco’s defense that they are “behind schedule” is not a reason to ignore the agreement.

The Board should also remember the neighborhoods surrounding the development voiced objections to the zoning change. If Stervinou is allowed to move forward, and ignore the original agreement, it would appear the surrounding neighbor’s objections were on target.

The Board should require Stervinou to live up to the agreement when the zoning plan was submitted. Anything less is a slap in the face of those who elected them to represent them on the City Council.

Board Considers a 25% Pay Increase for Themselves
The word out of Raytown City Hall is that the Board of Aldermen must “set” the salary for elected officials before the next election.


The salaries are already “set”.

This wringing of hands and (false) attempt to paint this political slight of hand as business as usual is so much nonsense. If they want to raise the salaries, they can do it. If they do not, they simply do nothing.

Here is the official line from Raytown City Hall.

The Elected Officials Compensation Committee was established by the Board of Aldermen to review the salary for elected officials and make recommendations for adjustment. An elected official's compensation must be set prior to a person taking office and may not be changed during the term of office, with the exception that the salary may be automatically adjusted during the term of office if the amount of the automatic adjustment is set prior to the start of the term of office. Accordingly, any adjustment the Board of Aldermen deems appropriate to make to the current salary of the Board of Aldermen (5 members), Police Chief or Municipal Judge must be made prior to the April 4, 2017 Election. The Elected Officials Compensation Committee met on August 11, 2016 to consider the salaries of the election positions of Alderman, Police Chief and Municipal Judge. The recommendations of the Committee are as follows:

Board of Alderman Increase Yearly Current-Yearly ($400.00 + $50.00 car allowance monthly) April 2017-Recommended ($500.00 + $50.00 car allowance monthly).


Municipal Judge Current Yearly $28,190.99 April 2017-Recommended $35,238.74


City Marshal/Chief of Police Current Yearly $96,742.00 April 2017-Recommended 7.5% increase $103,997.65

What is NOT stated in the Police Chief salary increase proposal is that he is also provided the full time use of an automobile . . . and, fuel, maintenance, and insurance for the automobile. He is also fully vested in the police department pension which pays 50% of his salary in retirement benefits.

Raytown is a city of approximately 30,000 people. It is only ten square miles in area.

It cannot afford to pay the scale of increases before the Board of Aldermen for the City Council, Municipal Judge and Police Chief.

The Board would do well to compare their salary, the Judge’s salary and the Police Chief’s salary to city’s of the same size.

We do not think they will do it. So, next week we will have the figures for you.

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Steve Meyers said...

Greg the Board of Aldeman and Staff held a lengthy and open public meeting of the Finance/Public Works committees last week and one of the agenda and discussion items was the recommendations of the public Officials Salary Review Committee you made mention of this week. Several Alderman asked for Salary Comps for other similar sized communities for the positions (Police Chief, Judge, Aldeman) being presented. While no firm decisions were expected or made at that point, it was pretty apparent from several comments from the Alderman there is not much traction for any changes needed in their monthly subsidy.

Steve Meyers
Aldeman Ward 4

Anonymous said...

If this current BOA hands themselves raises along with the others when the City is strapped for money it will surely cost some of them when they are up for election. The Judge, Marshal and BOA all have fair salaries. I hope they vote NO, but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Were the winners of the Primary Election supposed to remove their signs and put them back out 30 days before the General Election? Also can someone tell Diane Krizeck she lost and pick up your signs!! I still see them all over town.

Anonymous said...

8:12 on 8/29


This issue was covered prior and the winners can keep their signs up.

Diane and Aziere need to get all of their signs.

I have seen several for both still through the city, which doesn't say much for either of them.

Anonymous said...

The BOA needs to cut the salary of the police chief by 50%!

This would help pay for the top heavy police department that our current chief has created.

The BOA needs to cut the funding of the police department by 40% as we don't have any increase in officers on the street, which is what the citizens what and thought we were going to get as part of the Public Safety Sales Tax.

This would allow for the much needed funding EMS.

Yes, answers are often this simple.

Anonymous said...


Do you know what if any increase is being talked about for the mayor and city collector?

Also being a business owner what is the associated taxes?

For the 10 Alderman, Police Chief and Judge the city is looking at an additional 26,303.40 annually + the corresponding taxes.

I am also wondering if you can find out and report on why the city is even having these talks if as one Alderman has reported they are not going to act on the recommendations.

Anonymous said...

What the Alderman said was the Aldermen were probably turning down their raise suggestion not the other elected officials compensation

Anonymous said...

202 8/31

1. The POINT is the TAXPAYERS feel the Judge and Police Chief are already over paid!

2. It is clear from the city's own budget that the city is hurting for funds so why are they even thinking of a raise for anyone elected officials at city hall.

Anonymous said...

So 8:50 you speak for all us voters?
Really? How marvelous for you to think you have that power!!!
I would think that one would wish to pay all those working for us in government a fair wage to keep good people whether appointed or elected. How do you know they are compensated properly?
Bet you have no idea what others that are comperable positions, make

Anonymous said...

2:04 you seems very sensitive and must enjoy higher taxes as after all it is taxes that funds government.

I think 8:50 makes valid points and I recall reading in other local publications that our police chief is the highest paid 4th class city police chief.

This would mean one of two things either that paper is wrong or we should all ask why are we paying so much.

I understand the potion for Jackson County Sheriff pay is 30,000 less and we only have 10 SQ miles.

Does that add up for you?

Why don't we do as you say and look at all 4th class cities in MO and what they pay their elected officials based on the sq miles of that city take an average and adjust our elected officials.

While at it make the adjustments to all city positions as I have seen and read not only on this blog, but again other publications that our police department is top heavy, so the comparison would be good to clean up that mess too.

I hope you agree as it was your recommendations with the comment "Comparable positions"

Anonymous said...


You have a great idea and did you know Sugar Creek, which is too is a fourth class city in Jackson County, only has 15 police officers.

What makes this news worthy based on your position of doing a comparable review is that Sugar Creek has 1.5 more sq miles.

Don't you owe 8:50 an apology.

Anonymous said...

Amazing previous recall by Joe Creamer considering it seems he was pretty trashed majority of the time according to his weekly blog posts.

Anonymous said...

Excellent one dimensional views there 9:31 am and 7:23 pm!! How about the populations, demographics, crime rate, types of crimes committed, proximity to high crime areas, expectations of service, and so on? Raytown is a major crossroad on the metro. I bet at any time during most days their is at least another 10k souls in and about the city in an hours time. That's probably a conservative estimate. Awwww but heck, that doesn't matter does it?

Anonymous said...

I have a friend that lives lives in sugar creek and I find it odd that he calls it a druggy city. But I have always liked going to Sugar creek to eat and mingle with the locals. It is a small population with no fast food chains and a little off the beaten path so to speak. Very quaint town

Anonymous said...

I no longer live in Raytown, but follow it's progress closely since it is my home town. I am impressed by the Mayor's commitment to moving the city forward, and applaud the Aldermen for the time and research they do before voting on every issue. The police, fire, and EMS are vital in any community, but Raytown is blessed to have a strong core of departments that truly care. I am very encouraged by the current leadership and look forward to continued progress!