On Monday, it was revealed that four members of the St. Louis County Council were suing County Executive Steve Stenger in regards to him blocking the county auditor from hiring additional staff.
St. Louis County Councilmembers Sam Page, Ernie Trakas, Rochelle Walton-Gray, and Hazel Erby filed the suit in the St. Louis County Circuit Court.
According to the lawsuit, it “arises out of an attempt by the St. Louis County Executive to interfere with the County Auditor’s work in auditing the executive branch of County Government. The County Charter provides that the County Council shall appoint the County Auditor and hire the Auditor’s staff. But the County Executive and his appointees have been interfering with that process by frustrating efforts by the Auditor to hire auditing staff.”
Controversy first arose surrounding the St. Louis County Auditor’s Office after an investigative report conducted by KMOV revealed Tucker owing thousands to the IRS.
Additionally, it was shown that Tucker hasn’t completed any audits when on average the county auditor performs eight audits a year.
Stenger said last month that the St. Louis County Auditor’s office previously operated close to a decade with just two audit staff and the problem lies with Tucker.
“I don’t think that some members of the county council have demonstrated that they are good stewards of taxpayer money. I don’t know if they’re taking frankly their job as council members seriously enough,” Stenger said. “This is a very serious position in St. Louis County government and is currently occupied by an individual who doesn’t show up for the job, who doesn’t meet the basic charter requirements and he hasn’t produced a single audit in six months.”
Page addressed that issue by saying the office was disorganized and suggested an inadequate staff was part of the issue.
“I think that’s part of the problem. Another part of the problem is the office has been in disarray and he’s been organizing it,” he said. “He’s in the process of working through the request of proposals for an outside financial audit and that’s an event that happens every three years. We’re happy with his progress, he’s doing what he needs to do to get this office organized. Regardless of that, we need to fill this auditor position and we need to move forward with it.”