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Board of Aldermen punt on soccer legislation

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 — Aldermanic President Lewis Reed on Friday blocked a move to allow a vote by the full Board of Aldermen on Mayor Lyda Krewson’s nominees to the metropolitan Board of Freeholders.

Reed ruled out of order a request by Alderman Tom Oldenburg, D-16th Ward, for a vote on pulling the nine Krewson appointments out of an aldermanic committee, where they have been stalled more than three weeks.

That means the freeholders panel, which will consider changes to the governing structure of St. Louis and St. Louis County, is likely to hold its first scheduled meeting Tuesday without city representation.

County Executive Sam Page has urged his nine appointees to delay discussing substantive issues until city members are approved.

Reed said he is still trying to work out a compromise between the mayor and the aldermanic Intergovernmental Affairs Committee on who should be on the city’s delegation.

Reed said, “I think we’re close” and that he hoped an agreement could be reached by the Board of Aldermen’s meeting next Friday. That view was disputed in an interview by committee chairman Sam Moore, D-4th Ward.

While aldermanic rules allow the majority of the full board to yank a bill out of a committee without the committee’s approval, Reed said the rules don’t say the same procedure can be used to bring appointments to the floor.

Oldenburg noted that the rules also don’t prohibit doing that. Reed added that because the committee tabled the appointments, that’s an official action equivalent to voting something down and can’t be overridden by the full board.

Moore and some other black aldermen are upset that only one of Krewson’s African American freeholders 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 five whites and four blacks.

The mayor’s spokesman, Jacob Long, on Friday reiterated Krewson’s position that the group is diverse in various ways and that the state Constitution requires the full board to vote on her appointees.

The freeholders board’s creation was triggered by a petition drive led by municipal leaders in the county who opposed the now-discarded Better Together plan to merge the city, county and county municipalities into one entity.

Reed told aldermen that “it’s important we get this thing right, especially coming out of the gates.”

He added that the Better Together effort “failed largely because people felt they didn’t have a seat at the table. I think that it’s important we address those issues.”

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