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Aldermanic committee gets earful from NSO supporters

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – A committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen heard from city residents Tuesday who are opposed to changing the Neighborhood Stabilization Officer program.

NSOs are meant to be liaisons between residents and city agencies. But some aldermen say not all NSOs are doing their jobs and need more supervision.

Mark Reed, who lives in the McKinley Heights neighborhood, says problems can be fixed without a major overhaul.

"How do you justify dismantling a whole program because there are a few bad apples?" Reed said. "If that were the case, if we apply the same logic that you want to apply to this to the board of aldermen, we'd be turning your positions over every other week."

An aldermanic takeover of the Neighborhood Stabilization Team is unlikely because it would require approval all the way through the city's budget process.

But Barb Geisman, Mayor Francis Slay's development director, says the NSO office needs better oversight.

"One of the things we're trying to do here is simplify the job description so it is a lot more easy to tell whether the individual is doing the job or not," Geisman said.

The mayor's office has offered a compromise plan that would provide additional oversight, but keep the NSO program under the department of public safety.