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Alderman demands resignation of city personnel director

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Fourteenth Ward Alderman Stephen Gregali, the chair of the Public Employees committee, demanded the resignation Tuesday of the department's director, Richard Frank.

Gregali called it the only way to change a culture that has the department ignoring the city's needs for its own benefit. Gregali said he will call on the Civil Service Commission to investigate if Frank refused.

Gregali also sits on the Ways and Means committee, which voted to cut another $125,000 from the department's budget.

"Other department commissioners have come in and said, yes, we have to work with less, but aldermen, we're going to get our job done," Gregali said. "[Personnel] basically said, we won't be able to operate, and they basically want to hijack or hold up the city." Gregali said a letter, sent to Ways and Means chair Stephen Conway, threatened the paychecks of city workers.

Frank's attorney, Chet Pleban, said Frank has no intention of resigning.

"I'm going to look into every single facet of Mr. Gregali's work for the city of St. Louis, and see where it takes us," he said. "There's a reason that he's continuing to do this."

Gregali also demanded Frank's resignation last September over a disputed pay plan. Frank and the unions negotiated a three-year plan that included a sizable pay raise. The mayor rejected the plan, saying it was too expensive for the city. Gregali then accused Frank of negotiating in bad faith, saying Frank should have known the city could not afford the plan. City employees eventually got a one-year plan.

Under the city charter, Frank cannot be ousted without cause.