CLAYTON, MO - Five veto overrides followed by some vicious words for St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger at Tuesday morning's St. Louis County Council meeting.
“Where is the County Executive? We have an absentee County Executive once again.” Said Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-6th District.
The rocky relationship between the St. Louis County Council and County Executive Steve Stenger was yet again on display Tuesday.
Stenger may not have been there, but with St. Louis County Police Officers and medical personnel from the St. Louis County Jail present the St. Louis County Council overrode five of the County Executive’s vetoes. The issue that had the attention of those in uniform involved about $600,000 in raises for some 120 corrections officer and medical employees at the St. Louis County Jail. Money for those raises would come from the Prop P public safety tax voters approved last April.
“Not to diminish anybody else’s job, but you compare a person in an office who’s far removed from an inmate getting public safety money and yet a nurse who’s in close intimacy with the patients 24 hours a day don’t? That doesn’t make any sense to me.” Said Dr. Mary Vatterott Hastings, Lead Physician St. Louis County Jail.
“We made that promise that we would safeguard Proposition P and frankly that we wouldn’t spend it on nurses because they’re not public safety. I will tell you there’s an adequate fund to pay those nurses and that’s where they need to be paid.” Said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.
Stenger said he missed the meeting due to an earlier than usual start time for the council and a previously scheduled sit down with a major local business leader. His absence opened the door for some harsh council criticism.
“A true leader unifies people around a common vision based on shared values, but this County Executive thrives on division.” Said St. Louis County Council Chairman Sam Page.
“I hear what he’s saying. I respectfully disagree. What I would hope for the council is that they’re able to shift their focus from what is election year ankle biting and move onto an agenda that is the agenda of the people of St. Louis County.” Stenger replied.
An agenda Stenger says he’ll stick to as well with the August 7th Democratic Primary looming.