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Nixon names Tom Irwin, public policy veteran, to St. Louis Police Board.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 3, 2011 - Tom Irwin, who has served for decades as a top policy-maker to elected officials or the region's business leaders, has just added another title. Gov. Jay Nixon named Irwin today to the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, which oversees the city's police department.

If confirmed by the state Senate, Irwin's tenure would run through January 31, 2015. He would replace Dr. Michael L. Gerdine, whose term expired last January.

Irwin currently is the executive director of Civic Progress, a group whose members are the top executives at the region's biggest companies. Most recently, he was senior vice president of public policy for the Regional Chamber and Growth Association, overseeing legislative activities on a state and congressional level.

Earlier, he was:

-- deputy director of the City of St. Louis' economic development agency;

-- executive director of the Missouri Gaming Commission;

-- executive director of the Bi-State Development Agency, the precursor to Metro, the mass transit agency for the St. Louis region.

Before taking on those jobs, Irwin served in top positions for former Mayor Kevin White in Boston, former St. Louis Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl and the late St. Louis County Executive George R. (Buzz) Westfall.

"Tom Irwin is a highly respected individual, whose broad policy experience and deep knowledge of the St. Louis region will make him an invaluable member of the St. Louis police board," Nixon said. "I am confident that his skills and insights will help the police board work effectively with Chief Dan Isom to serve all the citizens of St. Louis."

Nixon's announcement notes that Irwin "holds a master's degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an undergraduate degree in Classical Studies and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.