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St. Louis County Council Approves Subpoenas For Page’s Anesthesiology Work

Members of the St. Louis County Council meet on June 1, 2021.
Jason Rosenbaum
St. Louis Public Radio
County Executive Sam Page called the effort by the St. Louis County Council, shown last month, to subpoena records related to his work as an anesthesiologist "political theater."

The St. Louis County Council voted Tuesday to subpoena County Executive Sam Page’s work records as an anesthesiologist.

For months, the council has been looking into whether Page’s work as a doctor violates the county charter on outside employment.

Page has said his work as an anesthesiologist occurs in his free time.

“It’s political theater as an extension of the last campaign,” Page said after the vote. “My administration is focusing on getting more people vaccinated, and we’ll let the political theater go on as much as the council wants to do that.”

The resolution, which passed 4-3, focuses on Western Anesthesiology Associates and Mercy Hospital Systems, which has a contract with the organization. The council is requesting documents dating back to April 2019 detailing the dates Page worked and his compensation.

“My understanding is that this resolution will authorize whoever we decide to move forward with these subpoenas,” said Councilman Mark Harder, R-Ballwin.

When asked if the St. Louis County Counselor's office had an unwillingness to issue the subpoenas, Harder said that the office did have concerns but that he believes it will be able to move forward. Harder said the counselor's office could issue the subpoenas or retain an outside attorney.

Harder and other council members have argued that Page’s employment is in violation of the county charter, which states that all of the executive's time should be devoted to the duties of the office.

Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway, D-Chesterfield, said the resolution is an overreach of the legislative branch’s power. Councilwoman Lisa Clancy, D-Maplewood, and Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-St. Louis County, also criticized the resolution for not specifying that the council utilize the counselor's office.

“Given the extensive disagreement here with respect to the validity of this resolution and the intended subpoena, the proper course is to hold a committee of the whole and be advised by the counselor’s office in closed session,” Trakas said. “The extent of the legitimacy of the subpoenas and the intended liability that may attach if, as I suspect, they will ultimately be quashed by a court.”

A spokesperson for Mercy said that Page is not employed by the hospital system and that while it does have a contract with Western, the organization does not have a role in scheduling anesthesiologists. Western officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Follow Chad on Twitter @iamcdavis

Chad is a general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.