February 11, 2016

Mayor, council need to rein in spending

Karen Stephenson
Letter to the editor
I am seriously discouraged with the Gardner mayor.  Under no circumstances is it appropriate, let alone polite, for him to behave as he did at the city council meeting June 20.  Mr. Drovetta you need to remember that you were only elected by a majority of FOUR votes.
The rate at which you are going indicates that you are (or definitely should be) a one-term mayor.   It appears that Mr. Drovetta is eager to spend taxpayer funds; he, successfully, pushed for a mill levy increase last year.  Other Johnson County cities are just now considering such tax hikes; Overland Park is considering returning to “chip and seal” to maintain their streets in this down economy.  Yet Gardner continues to increase utility fees, seems inclined to hire new police personnel and probably will propose more and larger tax increases.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that our city administration and city council do not have a firm grasp or knowledge of the severity of the current financial situation in our city, county, state, country.  When the good times were rolling they (mayor and city council) spent our money like there was no end in sight.  Guess what;  The end is not only in sight, it is here!  We are top heavy with parks and recreation personnel and programs while other local municipalities have been smart enough to cut back.
I also object to an increase in our police force.  If this department is our best bargain for our tax dollars I am very disappointed.  Maybe once or twice a year I see an officer ticketing speeding cars on Main Street; actually we rarely see police cars west of Center Street.  Instead of hiring additional police officers, let’s quit duplicating services.  The Johnson County Sheriff Patrol answer 911 calls, why not allow them to handle all dispatching.  We pay city taxes and we pay county taxes, why duplicate services?
Another concern is the continued use of outside sources to consult.   If Ms. Melissa Mundt is doing a credible job, as interim city administrator, why not promote from within.  I certainly do not like the idea of hiring someone who is a friend of Mr. Drovetta or beholden to him for a bump in salary before we agree to hire him.
Citizens have indicated concern regarding the mayor’s unprofessional behavior at city council meetings and they have also indicated they don’t believe the council is looking in the right direction.  Maybe the council needs to listen to the tax payers.


  1. Ms. Mundt has been employeed in an administrative position for numerous years and she has been a working partner with Mr. Drovetta and others in their mission – it is my opinion, you would want to think long and hard about promoting Ms. Mundt or perhaps even retaining her services. People need to really dig and know how their city operates – that would be the first important step that needs to occur to get you the government you want and deserve.

  2. Gardner says:

    If you (Karen and Judith) are so distraught over our elected officials who were elected by the majority of Gardner, perhaps you should think about moving to another town. There is no conspiracy as you have indicated multiple times. Our elected officials are doing the best they can and we should support them. I would have a lot more respect for your opinions if you ran for a elected position, but you haven’t and probably never will. You will continue to bash them believing you are making a positive difference in the Gardner community, but you are not. Our Police Department does an outstanding job ensuring every citizen of Gardner is safe. Our Parks and Recreation Dept. provides outstanding programs that brings enjoyment and unity to the Gardner Community. To say they shouldn’t hire another police officer or cut back on Parks and Recreation is absurd. Like I said, there are many other towns with real estate available that don’t have the security and recreational activities Gardner provides – Please, go look….or change your attitude…

  3. Moving is the not the answer to better government. The problems citizens face here in Gardner, they would face anywhere they move.. I will not be running for office as I have stated time and time again due to my poor health and also I absolutely cannot take the politics that is involved in the job. I will serve my fellow man by trying to bring awareness to them on important issues that will affect them and begging them to get involved in their city government and getting infomed and educated on all facets of their city government. I don’t want citizens to take the word of Joe Blow and his opinions or my opinions – I would like to see them in the trenches and actually know what is going on and then making their own opinions and action plans. I have seen so much propaganda for years in this town that it makes me sick and it makes me even sicker to see the adverse affects of citizens drinking and eating the propaganda.

  4. P.S. Gardner: Ignorance is not bliss and it won’t bring you bliss.

  5. Whatever Judith says:

    Seriously why do they even publish crap like this!! I 100% agree with Gardner Says…Judith and Karen do us all a favor and move PLEASE!! Judith I bet when your “poor health” becomes an issue and you pick up the phone to call for help you’ll be happy to see the men and women of Gardner both police and EMS. There is too much negativity in the world right now and we don’t need to add to that. Be thankful for what you have, be respectful of what you don’t.

  6. Bull Hockey!!! I am not grateful for what I have or what I have had in government and I want something better. Fireman always say: I may not like you but I will respond to your call. That is all I am asking for and that is WHAT I PAY FOR. I will not be moving but I will be staying in the face of those who think their opinions and thoughts are the only RIGHT ones – I don’t believe in dictatorships.

  7. Why do we duplicate parks services already provided by the county?
    And as to Ms Mundt; the city’s been spending like drunk sailors on leave as long as she’s been there. Her former boss ran us into debt and then moved on. Rather than whining and complaining, city employees should be thankful they have jobs and work to try to “right the ship.”
    As to leaving, why should we have to leave our town? Pull your head out of the sand and wise up to what’s going on.

  8. . . . and while I’m at it. Police and EMS workers choose the job they do, and they’re paid for it – just like all the rest of us hardworking people. In fact, they make a livable wage. I’m thankful for what they do, but please quit the whining. If they don’t like it, let them work at a fast food restaurant.

  9. I know at least 5 people who were at that meeting and they were appaalled by the mayor’s behavior. I know at least 6 people who won’t vote for him now.

  10. Well…I know at least 500+ people who think Fotevich is full of Fotevich….

  11. Too bad Dan – you and your 500+ people got out voted at the last election.

  12. Didn’t realize Fotevich would attempt to micro-manage and challenge sensible policy….what a disappointment…

  13. I don’t believe Fotovich is micro-managing but he is protecting the best interests of the people. The city of Gardner had not got bids on their employee health plan for 22 YEARS – don’t you think that calls for some oversight. Fotovich is not the perfect one just like none of us are but I will take him any day over the rubber stampers who go along to get along while my tax bill goes higher and higher and the special interests eat high on the hog at my expense. Call it micro-managing or whatever – I call it doing the job he was elected to do and I wish I could clone him for the other four positions on that Council plus the Dictator’s chair at the table. Along with making some changes that need to be made with the school district, maybe most of the poorest citizens in the county (and those who will soon be poor with cronyism government) wouldn’t be paying the highest taxes in the county and would have better services and quality of life.

  14. @Gardner says:

    Gardner, ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? You think Karen should move? She’s been here for more than 30 years…how long have you lived in town? 15 minutes?

    Real citizens of Gardner, we invited these people to town in the form of the almighty growth and now look, we’ve got the insane running the asylum. This is exactly why we needed to take back Gardner.

    Heaven help us now…they’re calling for more growth. What a mess they’ve made. Remember, before we had growth we had lower taxes because we weren’t paying for all of this infrastructure, all of these parks and parks and rec programs, all of these additional police officers? Gardner, remember, you moved here, if you don’t like how we do things perhaps YOU should leave.

  15. @ @Gardner says:

    I’m not kidding you. I am happy here…apparently, you, Karen and Judith are not. If you don’t like change, go find another place to live that is not thriving. There are many stagnate towns in KS. I didn’t suggest moving due to the number of years they have been a Gardner resident. Frankly, I could care less. I was merely suggesting they move because they are obviously unhappy here. Nobody likes a complainer unless you are one too. I love your quote, “this is why we need to take back Gardner.” – classic hillbilly talk…congratulations.

    I also love the fact their are many young families here who can feel safe with a growing population and enjoy the recreational programs the city has to offer. My kids have absolutely loved the sports leagues and special programs. We have lived here for over a year and have been thoroughly impressed with how family oriented this town is.

    I’m sorry to inform you…People like you are not the majority here despite what you may think becasue of the few supporters who pipe in on the discussion threads and/or friends who like to drink coffee with you and talk about the good ol’ days.

    I will say I have more respect for Karen and Judith as they atleast attach their names to their complaints – but, at the same time…I would hate being viewed as a negative, unhappy person.

    Have a joyous and wonderful day!

  16. I just love it!!!! He respects Karen and Judith for attaching their names to their opinion but he is too much of a coward to do the same and has the audacity to bad mouth someone who does stand tall about how they feel and what they want in a community. I have lived with back stabbers like you my whole life. Read your tax bill some time and note how Gardner’s mill levy for 2010 is 31.119 and Overland Park’s is 8.876 – think things are so much better in Gardner by you paying almost 4 times more than if you lived in Overland Park – what is so much better than Overland Park?. Give me a break – get educated and informed, that is if you know how or care to……….change many times in good or it can be bad – depends on how the change affects you. You ought to run for City Council – Dictator Drovetta is always looking for those who go along to get along and those who are more than happy to rubber stamp anything he places before them. You would never want to disagree with him or you might be looked upon as a negative, unhappy person – talk about passive……………..

  17. I really love history and it was one of my favorite subjects in school. This is off the subject but thought I would share this info with you – go to http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/node/1907059 and see how the thieves lived years ago. Not much change from today other than the styles of clothing, etc. Jerks like these today still look to the people to bankroll their lifestyles.

  18. I might add Gardner’s total school tax mill levy is 81.536 compared to Overland Park’s (Shawnee Mission School Dist.) is 57.192 and I hate to think what Gardner’s school tax mill levy will be if the citizens are fool enough to vote for that school bond issue. Your School Board isn’t even planning on taking bids for the general contractor or the overall manager of the project and we are talking about an over $72 MILLION project. From the information I can get on property appraisal amounts for the land needed for those schools, it appears the County had it appraised at about $166,000 from what I can tell and yet the citizens are having to pay over $2 MILLION for it and some of those jerks selling the property have claimed farm use on their property and have only paid probably no more than $50 TOTAL in taxes for a year. Do you think those kids in the Shawnee Mission School Dist. are getting a much worse education or are they doing without or not being prepared for college less than our kids??? Citizens better start putting their thinking caps on and figuring out why in the Sam Hill our school taxes are so high here in Gardner and have been the highest or in the top three highest in the STATE now for years. Don’t you think you might want to think about that a little bit and also your sky high city mill levy?????/

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