CITY HALL – As the apparent deadline for approving the city’s nine members of a freeholders board passed, action stalled on the issue of representation for north St. Louis.
An aldermanic committee wouldn’t vote on Mayor Lyda Krewson’s nine nominees for the freeholders board, and Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed said he wouldn’t put the matter on the Board of Aldermen’s agenda for Friday’s meeting.
The nine members from the city are to meet with nine members from St. Louis County and one appointee by the governor in a board meant to discuss the future of the city and county, possibly including a merger.
While there is uncertainty on the point, one interpretation of the state Constitution’s requirements is that members must be seated within 30 days of when the city Board of Election Commissioners certifies petitions asking for establishment of a freeholders board. That deadline passed on Wednesday.
Reed explained, “She sent over nine people that she wanted to be seated as members of the freeholders, but aldermen north of Delmar [Boulevard] would like some representation from people who live on Delmar, and I think that is reasonable when you look at the far-reaching implications this could have.”
“It’s important that all communities across the city have some representation at the table,” he said. “I think that’s easily achievable.”
Krewson said she was holding off until the Board of Aldermen had a chance to vote on her nine appointees. She said she’d had numerous discussions on the topic.
“We really need for the Board of Aldermen to take action on that,” Krewson said. “When they approve or disapprove those nominees, we’ll go from there.
“My interest is to make sure that the city has nine good, diverse, talented folks who care about the city, so the city can participate fully in this process.”
Four of Krewson’s nine nominees are African-Americans. But those who oppose some of her nominations say that only one, Abdul-Kaba Abdullah, is from north of Delmar. Others are Earl E. Nance Jr., who lives on Delmar, LaShana M. Lewis, who lives downtown, and Taunia Allen Manson, who lives in the Central West End.
Reed said he had passed on to Krewson the names of four nominees suggested by members of the Board of Aldermen’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. That group considered Krewson’s proposals but didn’t act on them.
That group includes its chair, 4th Ward Alderman Sam Moore, and its vice chair, 1st Ward Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, both of whom live north of Delmar.
Those they wanted removed from the list are Abdullah, Nance and Lewis; and one white nominee, Eddie Roth.
Reed also passed on from the group a list of four suggested replacements. Reed’s legislative director, Mary Ries, declined to give the names of that group.
In an email, Ries said Reed had been acting as the moderator or broker of sorts to help facilitate the conversation.
“He didn’t make any recommendation one way or another,” Ries said. “He mostly relayed the will of the committee to try to meet a compromise to meet the deadline,” Ries said.