At the St. Louis County Council meeting on Tuesday, Councilman Sam Page was called out by the County’s police union after he accidentally sent texts to the wrong person regarding a County police raise.
The texts were meant for advisor Garry Earls, the county’s former chief operating officer under former St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, but were sent to St. Louis County Director of Parks, Gary Bess, instead.
Opponents said Page was making the issue of a County police raise highly politicized.
In the messages, Page states that he was going to introduce a substitution bill to set aside 15 percent of Proposition P money until the pension impact was known. Otherwise, he said it may make County Executive Steve Stenger look like a “hero”.
During the public forum, Matt Crecelius, business manager for the St. Louis County Police Association, blasted Page for “scheming” with Earls.
“Chairman Page, your alignment with former Charlie Dooley henchman Garry Earls has been suspected throughout this entire process but was confirmed this afternoon,” Crecelius said. “You have partnered with a man who intentionally caused a tremendous amount of damage to the police department. The problems we face today are a direct result of his mismanagement philosophy. Now you are teaming with him to scheme against the will of the people that voted him and his boss, Charlie Dooley, out of office.”
In response, Page said he relies on outside help to routinely assist with complex issues.
“I depend on many people for advice in county government and I appreciate that advice,” Page said. “We try not to get personalities involved but unfortunately the information we need to make decisions has been routinely withheld, but I think we have a plan to move forward. I am disappointed as anyone that the discussion of the pension has been politicized.”
After the public forum, the St. Louis County Council moved the ordinance 6-0 (with Councilman Ernie Trakas being absent) to final passage after they passed a substitution bill that requires 15 percent of the Proposition P money to be set aside for pensions.
The bill is expected to be called for final passage when the County Council comes back into session on Oct. 31.