After in-fighting about security on the MetroLink, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson on Friday called for a reorganization of the agency in charge of the public transit system.
The two leaders requested Gov. Eric Greitens replace four Missouri members of the Bi-State Board of Commissioners in addition to filling a vacant Missouri seat.
Stenger’s nominees for the vacant seat include former county police chiefs Ron Battelle and Jerry Lee, and Rose Windmiller, an associate vice chancellor at Washington University.
Stenger’s nominees to replace current board member Constance Gully include Nancy Cross, vice president of Local 1 of the Service Employees International Union; Michael Yates, business manager of Operating Engineers Local 148; and D’Andre Braddix, assistant dean at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Gov. Greitens’ office did not immediately respond for comment.
The controversy began last month when The St. Louis Post Dispatch published a scathing investigative report that alleges county officers assigned to provide security for the MetroLink were sleeping on the job, loitering in their offices, and falsely reporting where they were patrolling and when.
July 25, the St. Louis County Council voted 5-1 in support of an independent investigation that would look into the matter rather than an internal investigation, which St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar solidly stands behind.
Council member Sam page, who sponsored the resolution, said the allegations were serious enough that an independent investigation was needed. The resolution is non-binding, and simply serves to demonstrate the council’s opinion on the matter.
“I, too, have the upmost respect for our county police officers and they job that they do,” Page said at County Council meeting. “They do literally put their lives on the line and I also support our police chief and what he’s trying to do to take this department in the right direction. I do believe these allegations are serious and they do require an independent investigation.”
Stenger said that after he read about the allegations, he contacted Chief Belmar to see if there was an ongoing investigation into the matter.
“Through our conversation, I asked him to conduct a thorough investigation and frankly, he had already begun that process immediately upon his reading of everything,” Stenger said. “Some of the allegations, he was reading for the first time, which is a little concerning as well … you would think that there would be communication from Metro to the chief about these manners and he’s not reading about them for the first time in a newspaper.”