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Consultant faults charter & denies endorsement

This article originally ran in the Raytown Times and is reprinted here with their permission


The proposed City Charter has several policy issues that could become problematic for the city. particularly in the working relationships between the Mayor, Board of Aldermen and the City Administrator, Gary Markenson, former executive director of the Missouri Municipal League and now a consultant to cities. said yesterday (Tuesday, March 3 1).

At the Charter Commission’s request, Markenson met with the commissioners early on as they sought advice on charter preparation. After the draft was printed, Commission Chairman Sieve Guenther provided Markenson a copy of the charter and asked him to review it and provide an endorsement. Markenson said he could not endorse it and pointed out to Guenther several key problems.

The Charter has essentially gutted the position of Mayor, stripping the office of all administrative duties and leaving the mayor to handle ceremonial duties, Markenson noted. It also presents a wall between the Mayor and the City Administrator, placing more power with the Board of Aldermen.

The Charter states: ‘The Mayor shall be recognized as head of the City government for all legal and ceremonial purposes;  shall have no administrative duties beyond serving as Board of Aldermen Chairman.”

The Charter also provides for an elected Municipal Judge. but states that the judge, “Need not reside within the City.”

” I don ‘I know of any city in this state that allows an elected official to live outside the city.” Markenson said. ” It seems inconsistent to require the City Administrator to live within the city when an elected judge is not required to.”

Markenson noted that the Charter specifies that “the Park Board may make and adopt such bylaws, rules, and regulations for the guidance and for the operation of the parks. Such rules shall be  adopted into the City code or ordinances upon approval by the Board of Aldermen.”

“Does that mean the city has to rule on every little rule and regulation the Park Board comes up with?” he asked rhetorically.  “It seems that could cause major conflict between the Park
Board and Aldermen. It paves the way for conflict.”

Markenson pointed out several other faults. but praised the Charter Commissioners for their diligence in preparing the document. “They worked really hard,” he said.

 


That concludes the Raytown Times article.  Below is video of Markenson’s presentation at the second Charter Commission meeting.

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