Posts Tagged ‘Commissioner Gene Owen’

A significant amount of money from the $50 million certificates of participation that Commissioners Owen and Ridgeway are wanting to spend involves a new Clay County Annex. 

For those that don’t know what the Clay County Annex is, it’s a second building of the County’s that provides some County government functions. It’s supposed to help people in the County who are farther away from the Clay County Courthouse in Liberty, MO. It’s located down in Kansas City at 1901 NE 48th St.

I’ll be the first to grant the Commissioners the point that the building leaves more to be desired and has some problems. Doing something about it could be, and probably is, justifiable.

The question becomes just what is justifiable.

I’ve been told that the proposed new building might cost as much as $20 million dollars. I don’t have any firm information because, well, no one really does.

You swing over to the highly advanced, and modern, Clay County, Missouri web page and you get little, if any, information in the news section. Seems we went through a 2 year period where there wasn’t any news at all to print back in 16 and 17.

Interestingly, you do get a little bit of propaganda about the tax levy kerfuffle. Business as usual folks, your Commissioners unanimously froze tax rates after Commissioner Ridgeway rode in on her legislative steed and saved the day.

Clay County Front Page

Funny, I don’t see a news item from 2017 saying Commissioners raised your taxes in a 2-1 vote. Oh, well, that news wasn’t fit to print. Busy, busy running the County, or something.

Great news though, the County is continuing “to move forward with multiple improvement projects addressing deferred maintenance and infrastructure upgrades and is committed to taking on these tasks without raising taxes.”

Sigh…

One would think that if you were about to leverage the citizens of the County for a cool $20 million that you might want to tell us about your grand scheme.

And that’s where the questions begin to get really interesting.

I find it peculiar that we’re talking about a $20 million dollar building when there’s been no serious public discussion about what this building will look like and where it might be located.

Do architectural plans for said building even exist?

If they do, how were they created?

Was there an RFP?

Who created them?

How was this architect chosen?

If plans don’t exist, how did you arrive at the $20 million?

Did you consult an architectural firm without the full knowledge of the entire commission, or did you all throw darts at a dart board?

Dart throw

Possible future architectural consultant for Clay County, Missouri?

If architectural plans exist, where is this new building going?

Or, more interestingly, do you have an actual parcel of land that you’re going to build on?

That’s a really interesting question actually, and I’m hearing some really interesting rumors.

I’ve been asking around a lot to try and figure out if it’s true or not. I’m not naming any specific names, but will if it can be proven.

There is an individual that may be a friend of a specific Commissioner who could be involved in the land transaction where this new building may set.

Now, I’d like to believe that this is a rumor and is not true, because if a friend of a specific Commissioner financially benefited from a deal like this, it would look really bad.

But, hey, just rumors, right?

I’m a practical guy. I often think we should think a little different in government. After all, it’s my money you’re forcefully confiscating, so you’d think you would want to be as responsible as possible.

Has anyone considered looking at existing office space or older strip malls for the Annex?

The Annex is functional. It serves a purpose. It doesn’t have to be an amazing building. It just needs to do what it’s supposed to do.

Considering a lease agreement on some sort of existing space could save tax payers a boatload of money, and potentially bring more business traffic to another part of the County.

Not saying I’m right here, or if it’s even possible, but we have no idea what you have considered thus far. Again, I’m part of the nearly 8,000 citizens who don’t trust anything you do.

Commissioners Owen and Commissioners Ridgeway would make the most responsible choice they’ve ever made if they just stopped everything on this. If they seriously want to proceed, they need to treat the citizens of Clay County with some respect and start giving us specifics and details. Quit hiding behind executive sessions.

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Photo courtesy of winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1970

Clay County employees are fearful this week because Presiding Commissioner Pam Mason is terrorizing them with lies and misinformation yet again. This week she is scaring them about their health insurance.

 

In an effort to manipulate employees into pressuring Commissioner Luann Ridgeway to approve the contract for an employee benefit consultant quickly and without question, Mason has told her staff to scare County employees into believing their health insurance benefits will be cancelled if Ridgeway doesn’t approve the contract immediately.

 

This is not true. The County has separate, stand alone contracts with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Delta Dental and EyeMed Vision that are not at all affected by whether or not the county has a contract with Garry & Associates.

 

A benefit consultant is used to evaluate insurance plans offered by insurance companies and negotiate rates with them for the benefit of the company buying its employees health insurance.  They are frequently used by local governments to help ensure that citizen resources are used in the most cost effective way possible.

 

For several meetings now, the County Commission has had Resolution 2014-137, a contract for employee benefit consulting with Garry & Associates, on its agenda for approval. http://webdocs.claycogov.com/resord/docserv.php?id=2014-137 Commissioner Ridgeway has asked for more information before renewing the contract with Garry & Associates.  Ridgeway’s request is that a contract amendment be made that will allow more transparency in this agreement – and all future contracts the Presiding Commissioner signs on behalf of Clay County taxpayers.

 

Before Garry & Associates, the County had a contract with CBiz for employee benefit consulting. The County’s $38,500 contract with CBiz was replaced last year after a meeting that occurred behind closed doors on June 3, 2013. The replacement contract was a $90,000 contract awarded to Garry & Associates. Yes, $51,500 more than what the County was paying to CBiz for the exact same services. This year the contract with Garry & Associates is proposed to be renewed for $91,890.

 

This means Clay County taxpayers are paying an additional $51,500 each year for the benefit consultant alone. If citizens were saving that much or more on the amount the County pays for employee benefits, that would justify the County Commission’s decision last year to spend the extra money with Garry & Associates. However, citizens actually are paying 6% more for County employees’ health insurance this year.  This is approximately $260,000 in added costs to taxpayers on top of the $51,500. http://webdocs.claycogov.com/resord/docserv.php?id=2013-349

 

Joshua Garry, the owner of Garry & Associates, contributed $1,000 on 9/14/12 to Gene Owen’s campaign for Commissioner and $650 on 4/9/2008.

 

It has cost Clay County taxpayers more than $310,000 this year to pay back yet another friend of this County Commission.

I received this from Jim Murray a little bit ago. Please make sure you get out and vote tomorrow.

Many people in Clay County have come to know me through politics, I am not a politician nor do I have any intentions of becoming one.

I am a business operator in Clay County, I am a private investigator and therefore naturally curious when things do not make sense,

Constitution Government is a hot topic and tomorrow we can all have our voices heard.

I have a number of concerns regarding our current County Commissioners and the form of government hat we have now, I believe that we have to take the steps necessary to reshape the government in Clay County,

As an investigator I have learned quite a lot about how we are currently governed.

We have a Commission made up of three people, Presiding Commissioner Pam Mason, Luanne Ridgeway and Gene Owen.

Any two votes are enough to pass resolutions.

I have learned that these three Commissioners take full advantage of this by rewarding their supporters with jobs and contracts, here are a few cases in point that I have documentation in my possession to back up what I say:

Luanne Ridgeway brought a young lady named Nicole Brown from Cole County to Clay County and installed her as the Community Relations Coordinator for Clay County and put her on the payroll at $45,000.00 per year. Did we have one of these before?

Miss Brown just happens to be the daughter of a State Representative friend of Luanne’s and she was also the campaign manager for former Missouri Speaker Rod Jetton. He is no longer in office after pleading guilty to assaulting a lady (the charges were reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.)

Gene Owen  has a friend who owns a company named Garry and Associates, This friend was awarded a county contract that pays them $95,000.00 per year to do the same exact job that was previously being done for $ 38,500.00 per year.

Pam Mason has a friend and campaign donor named Julie Welch, when the Commissioners decided to accept bids for an outside auditor they accepted five bids. The lowest bid was submitted by Cochran, Head, Vick and Company for $ 59,750.00 however the contract was awarded to Meara, Welch, Browne to the tune of $95,000.00

I don’t want to put it all on the Commissioners. I also learned that County Collector Lydia McEvoy took three people to Alaska to look at some software and spent over ten thousand taxpayer dollars to do it. When I am looking at software the vendor comes to me.

I also came into possession of an email when Mrs. McEvoy requested that a ten thousand dollar check be prepared to the firm of Husch Blackwell with regards to challenging the proposed Clay County Constitution (her words). She went so far as to request that the recipient of the email Barbara O’reilly correspond with her through her gmail account to prevent this information from being subject to the Sunshine Law.

The Commissioners and their supporters have spent tens of thousands of our dollars trying to stop this Constitution. They say your vote won’t count. No Marriage License Can Be Issued. County Employees won’t be paid. Schools will close. Jails will close. The sky will fall. They are afraid of losing their jobs, salaries, and most importantly, power.

They seek revenge against those of us who stand up to them, They wanted our former Sheriff re-elected and when that didn’t happen they retaliated by cutting the Sheriff’s Department budget to the tune of $450,000.00, placing the safety and well being of all of us at risk.

I could go on forever but you get the idea, the very corruption that they say will take place if the Constitution passes has been going on for at least the last eleven months. I didn’t make any of this up. I have it in black and white.

Tomorrow, November 5th, please join me in starting a new beginning in Clay County  government by voting Yes for the constitutional government.

 

Jim Murray

Private Investigator

Star Investigations LLC

License Number 2010017202

KS License D-5256