African-American aldermen ask Slay to reinstate fire chief

St. Louis – The St. Louis African-American Aldermanic Caucus sent a letter to Mayor Francis Slay Tuesday asking him to reconsider the demotion of the city's first black fire chief.

Sherman George was made deputy chief last week after he refused to make promotions based on a 2004 test.

George said the exam was not a good judge of firefighters' abilities.

Acting Chief Steve Kotraba made those promotions as soon as he took over the department

Alderman Terry Kennedy heads the African American caucus. He said the promotions fail to reflect the department's diversity.

"With these recent promotions and the few people promoted, we're really back to where we were around 1940, so that also has to be addressed," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said even if George does not reclaim the chief's position, the caucus still wants to talk with the mayor about the promotions and the 2004 test.

But the group has not specified any consequences if its demands are not met.

The mayor's office says reinstating George is not under consideration, but that the mayor looks forward to working with the caucus to improve the fire department.