Tribune Photo/Dave Thurman

By Leilani Haywood
Tribune Reporter

Lee’s Summit mayoral candidate Bill Baird led a rally for city employees on Thursday, March 1 in front of Lee’s Summit City Hall. Former school board member and community activist Baird said he organized the rally “to show support for all city employees with regard to compensation. I do support making this a priority for city government.”

More than 60 of Lee’s Summit firefighters, police, and public safety workers turned out for the rally. Baird held up a report published 10 years ago by a citizen’s task force the 360 plan which called for fair compensation for city employees. “This served as a roadmap, but we’ve had a recession and a lawsuit five years ago,” Baird said holding up the report. “We have not made progress on compensation even though our revenue is higher than other cities.”

Baird added that he was gathering public safety employees “to renew this initiative as a community and a family. We’re looking out for our own.” He addressed some objections that the city of Lee’s Summit wasn’t losing that many employees or that employees should be satisfied with their benefits. “We don’t vilify our hometown heroes. We need to get on a five-year plan and this is not happening overnight.”

He reminded the crowd that city staff conducted a pay study which hasn’t made any progress. “We’re a city known for taking care of our own.” Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Inglima said the police association has been negotiating pay for almost eight months. Councilmember Dave Mosby attended the rally and said he was not in favor of putting a use tax and sales tax on the ballot although this was his last term.

“I’m here to show my support for our city workers,” said Mosby. “We don’t need a sales or use tax. We can cut the fat.” Mosby had mentioned in an earlier council meeting the idea of cutting funding for improvements on private property. “You could potentially save several million a year.” The rally renewed hopes for firefighters, police, and public safety workers to get a pay raise.