CLAYTON, Mo. – The St. Louis County Council met on Monday, Aug. 13th at 2 p.m. Among many matters, Proposition P was a big focus for the Public Forum speakers.
Speakers came to the County Council meeting to ask the Council Members to find a solution to the law that is not allowing Proposition P funds to go to Corrections Medicine in order to help them with the pay and staffing of their nurses. Proposition P comes from tax funds to improve police services and public safety.
During Public Forum, four speakers were present to discuss the matter with Proposition P and working for justice services. First to speak was Lisa Wellman, a Corrections Medical Nurse for the last 7 years. Lisa explained that she had originally applied to be a nurse in the jail because of the pay and benefits. Within the last month full-time, long-term employees have quit and gone on to SSM because of the pay and benefits package. “I personally don’t care where the money comes from right now,” Wellman said, “I’m just begging for your help.” Wellman told the Council Members to stop focusing on what department the nurses are under and instead focus on what their job duties are.
Wellman talked to St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger directly, “Mr. Stenger, I have asked this question to those who have not supported Corrections Medicine receiving Prop P and no one can answer this. So, since you say it will be most a misappropriation of funds, I just wonder how you can support the PA’s office supply ordering court receiving Prop B funds and not Corrections Medicine.”
Speaker Kylee Reed has spent 14 years working in justice services. She told the Council Members that she is “highly disappointed in the amount of time that it has taken and still no compensation.” She reiterated Wellman’s statement that the nurses do not care where the increase is coming from, they would just like to receive their compensation for their work. “Today I respectfully ask that County Council act upon Executive Stenger’s previous request to introduce separate legislation for the justice services employees. I ask the Council at least please move forward with this one part that all of you do agree on. And stop making some of your hard working employees wait while you take 7 months to determine where part of the funds will come from.”
Kerah Braxton, who has worked for justice services for 7 years said, “I hope that the resolution comes forward soon and that it works out well for all involved. It is hard to know that you should be receiving a pay when you are not.”
Marquita Fletcher asked if the efforts of what the justice services employees are doing to keep criminals off of drugs and stop them from committing crimes in order to do drugs is not an act of public safety. “Do you believe that you are already violating the voters’ trust by giving Prop P funds to secretaries, accounting, and other office staff who never come in contact with inmates?”
Each speaker asked the St. Louis County Council Members to reconsider the legislation passed. They have waited months for increase and compensation, which they were allegedly promised, but still have not seen.
Councilwoman Hazel Erby was not ready to finish the discussion on Prop P and justice services employees, even after the rest of the agenda was followed. The meeting ended with Erby’s final thoughts on the matter. “We could legislate anything and he could just sit on it,” she said about County Executive Steve Stenger. “He doesn’t represent the people and I know that we are trying to.”