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Sam Page

Newly sworn-in St. Louis County Executive Sam Page looks out the window of his new office on Friday, May 3, 2019. Photo by Cristina M. Fletes, cfletes@post-dispatch.com.

CLAYTON — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page on Monday asked the County Council to pass legislation that would ban vendors or their representatives from contacting county officials during a competitive bidding process for government contracts.

A “cone of silence” would be intended to safeguard the integrity and transparency of the county procurement and contracting process, Page wrote in a letter to council members, dated Monday, seeking changes to the county’s purchasing code. And it would shield county workers from being subjected to undue influence and prevent unfair advantages during the process, Page wrote.

Vendors who violate the ban would risk having their bids counted as non-responsive, and county employees who violate the ban would be subject to discipline or dismissal, Page said.

The ban would not extend to normal communication between vendors and county procurement staff.

The proposal is the latest response from county officials to revelations that County Executive Steve Stenger, his chief of staff Bill Miller and others conspired to steer contracts to Stenger campaign donors, and that Stenger threatened employees who did not go along with his schemes.

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