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More Delays For Krewson’s Board Of Freeholders Nominees

Joe Hodes, 16th Ward Republican committeeman, introduces himself to a committee of the Board of Aldermen on Monday. Hodes is one of nine people Mayor Lyda Krewson has nominated to serve on the Board of Freeholders. Oct. 7, 2019
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 22 with further delay

St. Louis aldermen have once again delayed a vote on Mayor Lyda Krewson’s nominees to serve on a board that could rethink governance in the city and St. Louis County.

Members of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee remain at odds with Krewson over the number of Board of Freeholders nominees from north St. Louis. Krewson says four of her nine choices are from historically north side wards; committee members disagree. They took no action on Tuesday, opting to wait instead for another day in an effort to persuade the mayor to name new people.

“Until this process is fair, it’s going to continue this way,” said Alderman Sam Moore, D-4th Ward, who chairs the committee. “I need to have three or more people on this board.”

The mayor’s office said that conversations with the committee members were “just not productive” and that Krewson stands behind her original nominees.

The state constitution sets a deadline of Wednesday for aldermen to act. Moore’s committee, and the Board of Aldermen, have both scheduled meetings for Wednesday afternoon, although it’s not clear if the board can legally act if the committee does not approve the nominees.

Our original story from Oct. 16

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has delayed voting on Mayor Lyda Krewson’s nominees to a board that will consider changing governance in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Members of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday decided not to take a vote on any of Krewson’s nine nominees to the Board of Freeholders. Members of the Black Caucus, who are concerned about the racial and geographic makeup of the nominees, want to present their own names to Krewson to consider.

The nine nominees are:

  • Independent Abdul-Kaba Abdullah, executive director of Park Central Development
  • Democrat Bridget Flood, executive director of the Incarnate Word Foundation
  • Republican Joe Hodes, director of State and Industry Relations for the National Corn Growers Association and the 16th Ward Republican committeeman
  • Democrat LaShana Lewis, CEO and founder of L.M. Lewis Consulting
  • Republican Taunia Allen Mason, who works for the St. Louis Science Center in a STEM outreach program and is the 28th Ward Republican committeewoman
  • Democrat Earl Nance Jr., pastor at Greater Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church
  • Independent Eddie Roth, an attorney and former director of the city’s Department of Human Services
  • Democrat Jerry Schlichter, an attorney who helped develop the state historic preservation tax credit
  • Republican Dan Zdrodowski, an attorney at Hais, Hais & Goldberger 

Four of the nine are black, and three of the nine live in wards historically thought of as north St. Louis. But just one of the nominees — Abdullah — lives north of Page.
“To me, the Central West End is unduly represented, which it is always with money and everything else, and unfairly represented at the expense of north St. Louis,” said Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, D-1st Ward.

Alderman Bret Narayan, D-24th Ward, said he agreed with Tyus and the other members of the Black Caucus that the nominees were not as representative as they could be. But he pushed the committee to at least approve the people the committee could agree on “to keep the process moving forward.

“That way we can ensure that in the instance, where there was some litigation regarding this, that the city did not go without any representation should the courts decide that we didn’t do our due diligence on this,” he said.

The committee members opted to hold off considering all nine nominees, saying it gave them leverage with Krewson. Her chief of staff, Steve Conway, said the mayor is “always open to listening.”

The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday heard testimony from County Executive Sam Page’s nominees to the Freeholders but did not take a vote.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.