CITY HALL • In a swearing-in ceremony at City Hall at noon on Tuesday, Tishaura O. Jones officially took charge of the city government. The ceremony in the City Hall Rotunda was a scaled-back, socially distanced celebration that observed pandemic protocols.
Among speakers at the event were Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, East St. Louis Mayor Robert Eastern III, former Missouri Sen. Shalonn “Kiki” Curls, and Kwame Building Group Chairman & CEO Anthony Thompson.
Jones won the general municipal elections on April 6, becoming the first black woman to occupy the office in the city’s history. Her opponent, Cara Spencer, will remain as the 20th Ward Alderwoman in the Board of Aldermen.
Jones announced Dan Isom as her interim Department of Public Safety Director last week, a move she said was necessary to hit the ground running in the plan to put the “public back in public safety,” a line she used often during the electoral campaign.
Outgoing Mayor Lyda Krewson, who broke glass ceilings four years ago as the first woman to take charge of St. Louis’ government, will be retiring from city service after today. Krewson has served for more than 20 years, as alderwoman and in the last four as mayor. She was the target of criticism from city residents, especially after a virtual briefing last year in which she shared names of activists. The incident prompted protests and calls for her resignation during an already difficult pandemic time.
Jones inherits a city full of problems.
Top among them is crime. A dysfunctional police department and ineffective anti-crime planning has led to an endemic homicide spree, which past administrations have been unable to get a grip on.
The ongoing health crisis and a new influx of money from the federal government will add to the challenges in running this city.
Also celebrating a swearing-in Tuesday was Comptroller Darlene Green, who ran unopposed in the election. Green and Jones will be meeting with President of the Board of Aldermen Lewis Reed in the first E&A meeting under Jones’ administration. Some planning as to the allocation of the new federal funding is expected to take place.