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Mayor Jones hires longtime union leader as city director of operations

Mayor Jones hires longtime union leader as city director of operations

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St. Louis City Hall

St. Louis City Hall

ST. LOUIS — Nancy Cross, a longtime leader in the Service Employees International Union here, was appointed as city director of operations Tuesday by Mayor Tishaura O. Jones.

Cross, who retired last year as vice president of the union’s Local 1, fills one of the most important positions in Jones’ new administration.

The mayor on Tuesday also named former state Rep. Amber Simms as city register and Alisha Sonnier, an unsuccessful candidate for the city School Board in the April 6 election, to a vacancy on the board that opened up since then.

“I am thrilled to appoint such dynamic, hard-working women into City government,” the mayor said in a statement.

Cross, whose union supported Jones in her recent campaign for mayor, succeeds Todd Waelterman as director of operations.

Waelterman held that position during former Mayor Lyda Krewson’s four years in the office and the last two years of Francis Slay’s mayoral tenure.

He will now become city refuse commissioner, a civil service position. He previously held other civil service posts before working in the mayor’s office and is returning to civil service status.

Simms is the daughter of the late Billie Boykins, who also was a state representative and then the city license collector. Simms replaces Dionne Flowers, a former alderman who was register under Krewson.

Sonnier, the only school board candidate who was endorsed this year by Jones, succeeds Adam Layne, who resigned after he was appointed to Jones’ old post of city treasurer by the mayor.

In the April election, Sonnier, a mental health advocate, finished fourth in a 10-person field of candidates running for three school board seats that were voted on.

Cross, the new director of operations, joins Jones’ inner circle of advisers along with chief of staff Jared Boyd and Nahuel Fefer, director of policy and development, who were previously announced.

Boyd was Jones’ chief of staff in the treasurer’s office and Fefer is a former aide to Slay and fellow with ArchCity Defenders, a legal group which has advocated for changes in the criminal justice system.

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