Friday, Jul. 20, 2012
Heavier police presence to continue through summer
City approves pay increases to most positions
By Bethany Bashioum
Motorists traveling along Highway 71 in Harrisonville will continue to see a heavier police presence on Friday evenings throughout the summer.
Harrisonville’s Board of Alderman approved an ordinance July 16 to enter into a contractual agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation to reimburse the Harrisonville Police Department for traffic control at the intersection Highway 7 and Highway 71 on Friday evenings.
MoDOT began seeking additional assistance in patrolling the area on May 25, during Memorial Day weekend, due to lake traffic.
“MoDOT requested that our police service do this, and MoDOT promised to pay for that service. They have finally gotten around to sending our police chief the actual contract,” City Attorney Steve Mauer said. “There’s not much to be negotiated. Quite honestly, in this case, we want the service and we want to be able to do it.”
Police Chief John Hofer said the partnership has been very successful as traffic on the highway becomes extremely congested on Fridays during the summer.
MoDOT requested two officers for traffic control and has agreed to reimburse the city for all overtime hours occurred during the effort. MoDOT has also said that the reimbursement will be retroactive back to May 25.
At a minimum, MoDOT requests officers to patrol the intersection from 4-8 p.m. on normal weekends, and 3-8 p.m. on holiday weekends. Hofer indicated that it will be up to the officer’s discretion, depending on traffic, if they can leave at 8 p.m., or stay until 9 p.m.
“I have received several compliments from local residents and passing motorists regarding the assistance and they were very appreciative of our efforts,” Hofer told the city.
The agreement with MoDOT is to be in effect through September.
The Board of Alderman also approved to increase police officer pay at the meeting.
City Administrator Keith Moody said the pay for the “Police Officer 1” position, which is the position of the majority of the city’s law enforcement staff, is roughly $3,000 less than average from the Mid America Regional Counsel’s Salary and Benefit Survey.
According to Moody, the city has experienced higher police officer turnover in the past 24 months – mainly due to lower than average pay.
Each year, the city’s Compensation Structure is reviewed and compared to the MARC survey. No changes were proposed in 2009 or 2010, and a $.25/hr. increase to midpoint pay was approved in 2011 and 2012. The survey data related to positions employed by Harrisonville have been used to compare the pay range to that of the market.
Moody proposed increasing the position up one pay level would raise the beginning pay for an officer by $4,000, which would increase the police department personnel expenses by $20,500 annually, and would affect six to eight officers.
Additionally, Moody discovered that Harrisonville’s two highest pay levels, in which the city administrator and finance director/assistant city administrator positions fall under, have been higher than the survey’s comparable average since adoption of the new pay scale even though no changes have occurred in the two pay ranges for the past three years.
Moody recommended a decrease in the pay range for both levels to put them in step with the comparable average, but indicated the current pay of the people in these positions would not be impacted, as the current pay for each is within the new pay range.
He also requested moving the positions of the public works, emergency services and electric utility directors up another pay level to be on the same scale as the police chief, as these positions are about $4,000 less than average. Moody said this will not impact the current pay of the people in these positions as each makes more than the proposed starting pay.
“In looking at the pay comparables for these positions, I believe it is justified. In addition, these directors have as much responsibility and impact on the level of service to our citizens as the police chief does,” Moody said.
All other pay ranges are in line with the survey, Moody said, and therefore it was recommended only to increase the midpoint pay by $.25/hr. to keep pace with inflation.
“The fact that our pay ranges are competitive with comparable communities is the primary reason for recommending only modest changes,” Moody said.
The pay changes will become effective Jan. 1, 2013.
In other meeting news, the Board of Alderman:
Approved an agreement presented by Director of Codes Administration Steve Rauscher to allow Prudden Construction of Lee’s Summit to make exterior EIFS improvements to Harrisonville’s City Hall. The project had been awarded to the Wilson Group of Greenwood on May 1 for $67,000. Prior to any work commencing, the Wilson Group immediately requested an additional $7,000 for the EIFS portion of the project because they state they underbid the project. Considering that the city had already executed signed contracts for the project, Wilson simply said they “couldn’t and wouldn’t” do the project for the bid price. Staff chose to have them fulfill a small portion of the contract for window replacement and trim, and terminated the remainder of the contract. Staff contacted two additional businesses to secure quotes. Prudden was the lowest bidder at $69,336. Staff negotiated a $1,000 reduction with Prudden and accepted the offer. Work is tentatively scheduled to begin August 27.
Recognized Steve Rauscher for his service to the city. Mayor Kevin Wood told the Board of Alderman that prior to the session this was his last meeting due to health reasons. Rauscher, 53, Raymore, developed malignant melanoma three years ago, and was recently informed that the disease has returned as stage 4 brain cancer.
Approved a clinical site agreement with the University of Missouri and the City of Harrisonville. Harrisonville Emergency Services has been a clinical site for several different agencies and schools, including Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City and IHM Health Studies in Independence.