ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- The largest coalition of organized labor unions in the St. Louis region has pulled its support from embattled St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. Citing questions about an FBI probe of a contract for helping build the new county crime laboratory, the St. Louis Labor Council has withdrawn its support for Dooley. The head of the Council, Bob Soutier, met with Dooley Monday afternoon, along with Jeff Aboussie, head of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council.
According to Soutier, the two labor leaders told Dooley that their affiliated unions will not support Dooley in his 2014 re-election bid, and that Dooley should withdraw from the race. Soutier says questions about an FBI investigation into alleged conflict of interest in the construction of the new St. Louis County Police Crime Lab played a role. The FBI, at the urging of St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch, is investigating whether there was a conflict of interest in awarding a $3.7 million subcontract for the crime lab's heating and cooling systems to a company owned by Greg Sansone. At the time the contract was awarded, Sanone was head of the St. Louis County Police Board, a position he resigned after the FBI probe became public.
"It’s for others to say, not me, whether the Dooley administration is ethically compromised," said Soutier, whose Labor Council represents over 50 labor unions in the metropolitan area. "But there have been many decisions made by this administration that we disagree with, and we all voted to distance ourselves, and our members, from those kinds of problems."
Reached by phone, Dooley said, "Organized labor has no better friend in the whole St. Louis region than Charlie Dooley. I'm sorry they feel this way, but I intend to run for re-election on my record of accomplishment for the people of St. Louis County over the last decade."
Besides the FBI probe and the dispute with Chief Fitch, Dooley is facing an erosion of support because he appointed Republican Dave Spence to a vacant post in the St. Louis County Police Board. Spence, the failed Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2012, is a strong supporter of right-to-work legislation. Right-to-work proposals are bitterly opposed by organized labor. Last week, the Carpenter's Union in St. Louis also withdrew its support from Dooley.