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Slay now officially is St. Louis' longest-serving mayor

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 27, 2013 - By his staff’s calculation, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay officially made history on Saturday by becoming the city’s longest-serving mayor.

Although Slay just began his history-setting fourth term on April 16, it wasn’t until Saturday that he hit his 4,394th day in office.  That edges out the three-term tenure of Mayor Henry Kiel, who served 4,393 days during his 12-tenure (April 12, 1913 to April 21, 1925.)

So says city Operations Director Eddie Roth, who did the math.

The city's two other three-term mayors – Raymond Tucker (April 21, 1953 to April 20, 1965) and Vincent C. Schoemehl (April 21, 1981 to April 20, 1993) – each served 4,383 days, Roth says.

To mark Slay’s record, his staff celebrated a day early, on Friday afternoon, by presenting the mayor with a mock Proclamation and a “lock’’ to the city (as opposed to a key).

Aides say the surprise presentation was set up by Roth and senior mayoral assistant Sherry Wibbenmeyer.

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.