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Wagner says his job, and nothing else, prompted decision to resign from county police board

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 27, 2013 - Ray Wagner, an executive at Enterprise Holdings, says his increased professional responsibilities are behind his decision to step down from the St. Louis County Police Board shortly after taking over as the interim chairman.

Wagner is vice president of government and public affairs at Enterprise. He also is the husband of U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin.

Wagner wrote in a letter to County Executive Charlie Dooley, submitted today, that he had “other professional demands at this time.” Wagner also noted that his term appears to have expired; he was appointed in April 2009.

Sources say that Wagner, a Republican appointee on the board, was not forced to step down and that his decision took Dooley’s administration by surprise.

Wagner told his fellow board members, and reaffirmed in his letter to Dooley, that he plans to leave after the September meeting, to give Dooley time to nominate a replacement. County Council approval is required.

Wagner’s departure comes right after two other resignations – Floyd Warmann and Gregory Sansone, who had been the chairman. Sansone stepped down amid controversy over the awarding of a subcontract to his firm, SM Mechanical LLC. The FBI is investigating.

The County Council is expected to act Tuesday evening on the nominations of Republican Dave Spence and the Rev. Freddy Clark, a Democrat, to fill the two vacancies.

Those close to Wagner say that his decision to step down had nothing to do with the controversies.

Wagner is recommending that the Police Board wait until all the vacancies are filled before electing new officers.

Wagner made waves during his short stint as chairman, when he opted to do away with the board’s traditional restaurant lunches paid for by taxpayers. The board has switched off between Dominic’s and Cardwell’s. Tuesday’s lunches were brought in from St. Louis Bread Co. and paid for by the board members.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.