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Freeholders stalemate continues at St. Louis City Hall

Freeholders stalemate continues at St. Louis City Hall

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Members of the general public watch the St. Louis Board of Aldermen meeting on Monday, April 15, 2019, from the overhead gallery in the City Hall chamber.  Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS — With the potential first meeting of the regional Board of Freeholders just days away, the ongoing deadlock between Mayor Lyda Krewson and some aldermen over who should represent the city appeared to be no closer to a solution Wednesday.

Krewson repeated her stance from late last week: that the full Board of Aldermen should approve or reject each of her nine nominees before she names any “additional folks” to the freeholders panel.

The panel, which will consider changes in the governing structure of St. Louis and St. Louis County, may hold its first meeting Monday.

“We have been in conversations specifically with three aldermen who don’t like some of our nominees and like others and want to insert others,” the mayor said.

“But this takes the action of the full Board of Aldermen” as directed by a state constitutional provision.

Asked about the chances of a compromise being reached by Monday, the mayor responded: “I’m not in the business of making bets.”

Alderman Sam Moore, D-4th Ward, who chairs the board’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, said Wednesday that “there’s nothing new. Everything remains the same.”

Moore’s committee, where the Krewson appointments were sent for review, has refused to vote on sending them to the full board.

Moore and some other aldermen are upset that only one of Krewson’s black nominees lives north of Delmar Boulevard in the heart of heavily black north St. Louis.

Overall, the mayor’s list is split almost evenly racially, with four blacks and five whites. Krewson says the group also is diverse in geography, gender, age and professional backgrounds.

Tom Shepard, the top aide to aldermanic President Lewis Reed, said he and Reed are continuing to try to work out a compromise list of city freeholders acceptable to both the aldermanic committee and the mayor.

Krewson’s chief of staff, Steve Conway, said no new discussions between the two sides had been held by midday Wednesday. “I think by (Thursday) afternoon I’ll have a better idea” what may happen, he said.

Reed on Tuesday night announced he had authorized the use of the aldermanic chamber for a Monday freeholders meeting even though the city members had yet to be approved.

Reed did so after the County Council finished its approval of County Executive Sam Page’s freeholders nominees. The nine Page appointees and the lone appointee of Gov. Mike Parson make up a quorum of the 19-member freeholders board.

The state constitution says the first meeting should be at City Hall after the appointments are set.

Meanwhile, Alderman John Collins-Muhammad, D-19th Ward, argued in a tweet that under the constitution the freeholders board isn’t complete without its city members. If that situation continues, he wants the county and state board members barred from entering the aldermanic chamber.

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