St. Louis County Council Chair Wants Overhaul of Port Authority Board

By on June 25, 2018

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  The St. Louis County Port Authority is the newest front in the St. Louis County Council’s battles with County Executive Steve Stenger.

A bill St. Louis County Council Chairman Sam Page filed Monday would bar Port Authority board members from serving on expired terms. With all current members of the Port Authority serving expired terms, the move is designed to force Stenger to reappoint board members who can win the blessing of a council increasingly at odds with him. The bill is expected to be introduced at the council’s regular meeting Tuesday (June 12) evening.

The latest council power play follows an override two weeks ago of five Stenger vetoes and moves to assert more council control over the budget. In April, Page asserted his right to sit in on Port Authority board meetings as a nonvoting member and requested financial records, contract solicitation materials and other documents from the Port Authority.

The St. Louis County Port Authority is an unusually powerful economic development agency, primarily because it receives some $5 million a year in rental payments from the River City Casino in Lemay. All of the current board members were appointed by Stenger’s predecessors. However, they approve nearly every proposal put before them by St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, which runs the day-to-day operations of the Port Authority.

Page said that the Partnership staff had not produced all of the records he requested and that some records wouldn’t be produced until late July. Page said that appeared to be an attempt to delay their release until shortly before the St. Louis County Democratic Party primary, in which Stenger will face challenger Mark Mantovani. Because he is a board member, Page said, the documents should be readily accessible and his requests shouldn’t be processed like a Missouri Sunshine Law request.

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