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Weather Forecast

Partly Cloudy
Tuesday 0%
High 77° / Low 53°
Partly Cloudy
Partly cloudy. High 76F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.
Rain
Wednesday 100%
High 54° / Low 43°
Rain
Cloudy with periods of rain. High 54F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a half an inch.
Partly Cloudy
Thursday 20%
High 69° / Low 46°
Partly Cloudy
Some sun in the morning with increasing clouds during the afternoon. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 69F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Clear
Friday 0%
High 68° / Low 46°
Clear
Sunny. High 68F. Winds NNW at 10 to 15 mph.
Clear
Saturday 0%
High 74° / Low 50°
Clear
Sunny skies. High 74F. Winds light and variable.
Clear
Sunday 0%
High 77° / Low 58°
Clear
Mostly sunny skies. High 77F. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph.
Partly Cloudy
Monday 0%
High 77° / Low 62°
Partly Cloudy
Partly cloudy. Gusty winds in the afternoon. High 77F. Winds S at 20 to 30 mph.

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Letter to the Editor from former Mayor Sue Frank

I appreciated Bob Phillips comments in the February 4th, Raytown Times about the proposed Charter. I especially appreciate that Bob took the time to read the document. Having quite a bit of experience with previous Charters I have read the proposed Charter several times and have been to a couple of meetings to ask questions. I encourage everyone to read it and attend the upcoming meetings on February 24th and March 24th. I understand that printing is in the works but in the meantime it can be read at Raytowncharter.com. Go to documents.

Bob states, he “does not believe the City Administrator should be required to live in the city. Period.” It seems the residency requirement is the most divisive issue of this Charter. Of the 39 Charter cities in the State, the commission studied 37.  Of those 37 studied, 36 required City Administrator residencies. There is still an ordinance on the books in Raytown that requires a City Administrator to live here, even though this administration has chosen to ignore it. Had the Board of Aldermen simply repealed the residency ordinance, I doubt we would be having this discussion. The three prior administrators were required to live here; no one’s feathers got ruffled then.  Maybe residency requirements aren’t reasonable for Raytown anymore, but the fact remains an ordinance –our law-requires it.  Many people feel just as strongly that a City Administrator should have to live with the consequences of their direction, pay their taxes and spend their income at local businesses within the town that employs them. But to the Commission’s credit, this Charter is not targeting individuals, all contracts the city has with employees will remain in force.  If the Charter passes it will not affect the current City Administrator. Residency would only apply to future City Administrators.

Bob also said that he disagrees with electing a police chief. There have been cases where an appointed police chief is directed to harass the political adversaries of elected officials, and have been fired for not doing so. Like the Judge, maybe the elected police chief should not have to be a resident, but again, the commission chose to write the Charter in a way that mirrors our current ordinance, and how our City is currently doing business and I think that’s proper. This gives us all common ground and a common starting point from which to discuss and/or vote on these types of changes in the future.

In response to Bob’s concerns about the percentages for Initiative, Referendum and Recall being too low, I know the Commission spent many hours of discussion about these. They studied what other cities required. The goal was to make them high enough that it could not become a nuisance or waste people’s time and tax dollars with elections. But at the same time, the percentages needed to be obtainable if the citizens felt so strongly about an issue they wanted change.  I understand that Initiative and Referendum would require about 1400 registered voter signatures. Recall for a Ward would require around 600 from the Ward, and for a city-wide position, about 3000.  For anyone that has tried to collect petition signatures, that’s a lot of work. To quote a friend, “Why would any American citizen argue against a method to redress grievances with their government?” That’s not to say you are un-American if you oppose the charter, but the democratic process of discussion and voting is our American way.  Should the percentages turn out to be too low, and nonsense elections start, I have every faith that the people of Raytown will raise the percentages in the future.

I do agree with Bob about compromise. I think it would be impossible to write a charter that everyone would agree with 100 percent. If I were writing this charter by myself, there would be minor changes I would make, but there is nothing in this Charter that I can’t live with.  Home Rule gives us all an opportunity for discussion and gives citizens a voice in shaping their government. It provides a balance of authority over the direction for the future of our city that we don’t currently have. A charter is a living document. To quote Lee Gray, “change should occur by evolution, not revolution.” As Bob states, the Raytown Charter Commission did a good job, I agree.  I hope we don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Sue Frank former mayor

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