KCUR News
2:00 am
Thu March 26, 2009

Council Advances MAST Takeover, Dress Code

Kansas City, MO – The idea of making MAST a city department was endorsed last week by a study group that included the present and past Medical Directors of Kansas City emergency efforts and City Hall's top financial heads.

A group called Responsible Citizens for Responsible Government testified against the plan in committee Wednesday, and Councilman Ed Ford called proceding with it premature. He told the committee the cost of bringing MAST employees into the city's retirement plan could cost up to $17 million dollars. "If it costs half of that," asked Ford, "where are the savings to the system? And if there are no savings to the system why are we doing it?

But colleague John Sharp said it's important to get started quickly. Sharp and other committee members worry that with many rumors about the future of MAST circulating, the ambulance service could begin to lose some of its best employees.

The committee advanced the plan and ordinances to allow MAST employees to live outside the city limits and to participate in the city's pension plan.

The dress code measure that advanced has primarily been opposed by the operators of the Power and Light District. Planning and Zoning Committee chair Terry Riley says the final version will allow dress codes - for example requiring a coat and tie - but will ban discriminatory ones.