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Change To Conflict Of Interest Rules Stalls In St. Louis County Council

(via Flickr/kevindooley)

A proposed change to the county charter that would have required subcontractors to disclose potential conflicts of interest when doing business with the county failed to advance in the St. Louis County Council.

The change was introduced in the wake of Gregory Sansone’s resignation from the Police Board after questions were raised about his company receiving a subcontract to work on the county’s new crime lab.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into whether there was any wrongdoing.

County Executive Charlie Dooley said the council missed an opportunity to strengthen rules set in the county charter.

“I think it’s unfortunate,” Dooley said.  “I think they misunderstood what the purpose was.  The purpose was to strengthen the (law) we already have in existence, not the qualifications.  I think they got it backwards, but that’s their prerogative.”

Councilman Steve Stenger said the change would have weakened the county charter, which he says is clear on what does and does not constitute a conflict of interest.

“The charter is extremely clear, and says this classification, this class of people, are not to receive contracts that involve county money, they’re just not, directly or indirectly,” Stenger said.     

Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett disagreed, but said she wasn’t surprised by the outcome.

“Probably, we should have given it a little more forethought to it, because we have a lot of people on boards and commissions that serve in a capacity like mechanical code, plumbing, electrical, so on and so forth, and that would have really thrown them in a bind,” Kelly Burkett said. 

Meanwhile, a bill that requires criminal background and credit checks for Police Board nominees did move forward. That bill could be up for a final vote next week.  

Follow Tim Lloyd on Twitter@TimSLloyd

Tim Lloyd was a founding host of We Live Here from 2015 to 2018 and was the Senior Producer of On Demand and Content Partnerships until Spring of 2020.