St. Louis County Council continues to move forward in finding own lawyer

CLAYTON, Mo. – The St. Louis County Council plans to ask the county voters for their own lawyer once again.

According to Page, the council receives poor legal advice because Counselor Peter Krane reports to both the council and the County Executive.

During Thursday night’s meeting, the council voted in favor 6-1, despite some reservations from members, on Bill No. 334, a proposed charter that will ask the voters in April to allow the council to have its own lawyer.

“The interest of the council and Executive have diverged,” Councilman Ernie Trakas, 6th District, said.

The council also voted in favor 6-1 to override County Executive Steve Stenger’s veto of Bill No. 294, a contract with Bick & Kistner, PC for legal services related to the council’s Ethics Committee, which the council originally passed on December 4, 2018.

“The council has important business to tend to over the coming weeks and months, particularly in regards to allegations of some very serious, concerning behavior involving the current administration and the Economic Development Partnership,” Councilwoman Lisa Clancy, 5th District, said.

Clancy said the county counselor has an “unavoidable conflict of interest” when representing the council and Executive at the same time. She said the council needs and deserves its own lawyers when handling the investigation.

“I look forward to working together with Executive on some important shared objectives, and there are some, but on this, we will differ. It’s simply too important,” Clancy said. “I do support the override of the Executive’s veto here.”

Councilman Timothy Fitch, 3rd District, voted against the override saying that it was what the voters had decided. Last summer the voter’s said no to the council using tax dollars for a council lawyer.

Council members also re-elected Councilman Sam Page, 2nd District, to a third one-year term as Chairman of the Council. Councilwoman Hazel Erby, 1st District, was also re-elected to Vice Chairman.