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Ballot includes four city charter questions

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – St. Louis City voters should get ready to spend some time at their polling place on Tuesday.

They will face six city-wide ballot questions, on top of the five state-wide questions that all Missourians will see. And four of those questions will give St. Louisans the chance to change their city charter.

The city currently can only fine someone as much as $500 for breaking a city ordinance. Prop 1 would raise that to $1,000

It's a question that has failed a number of times before, and Aldermanic President Jim Shrewsbury says voters have rejected it because they didn't understand it: "I think most people believe they're going to be getting a $1,000 ticket if their parking meter runs over 20 minutes, and that's not the case."

Another question would change how city workers change jobs within city government.

Right now, city employees are guaranteed jobs when there are vacancies. Prop 4 would instead give the employee five points on the civil service exam.

Aldermanic President Jim Shrewsbury says that still gives city workers a preference just not an outright guarantee.

"This has been a problem in the fire department where applicants go down and take a test and get a very good score to be in the fire department, but they won't get the position because they're competing against someone who works at the dog pound, or the city jail, or the forestry division," Shrewsbury said.

Another change would let the city consider the six top-scoring applicants for civil service jobs, instead of the current three.

And those who work in the mayor's office wouldn't need to take civil service exams, which essentially puts into law what's long been practiced at City Hall.

All four city charter changes have gotten more than 50% approval before, but all failed because charter changes need 60%.

St. Louis City Election -
Four Charter Changes (Props. 1-4)

Proposition 1 - Raises maximum fine the city can levy for breaking a city ordinance from $500 to $1,000
Proposition 2 - Allows employees of the Mayor's office, who are typically political supporters, to forego a civil service exam to get that job, thus putting into law what has long been done. Prop 2 also stipulates that all those employees lose their job if the Mayor leaves office.
Proposition 3 - For jobs that are based on the results of a civil service exam, the change would allow the top six (instead of three) scoring candidates to be considered.
Proposition 4 - In filling job vacancies in city government, other city employees will get five points added to their civil service exam score as a way to give them preference for the job, but not give them an outright guarantee to the job, as the charter currently allows.