St. Louis Public Radio News
7:33 am
Tue April 21, 2009

Mayor Slay calls for merger of city with county

St. Louis, MO – St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay took the oath of office for a third term on Tuesday.

The mayor delivered his inaugural address in a ceremony in the rotunda at city hall. He began the speech with a plea for cooperation and a call to put aside what he called "old St. Louis fights".

The mayor laid out several ambitious goals including a return to local control for the St. Louis Police Department, combined governance of the region's airports and a push to make the city part of St. Louis County.

"The city must reform its charter," said Slay. "The city, the inner suburbs and the outer suburbs must combine services and I strongly believe that we must begin to lay the groundwork for the City of St. Louis to enter St. Louis County."

Mayor Slay said the city and county should not be competing over tax base.

The mayor said a lack of regional cooperation hurts everyone including the city, suburban counties and southern Illinois. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley was not at the mayor's ceremony.

Slay also said it was high time for the city to take back local control of its police force.

"In the age of Youtube, iPhones and Twitter, its time that St. Louis joined every other city in America and had its own police department," said Slay.

The St. Louis Police Department has been controlled by the state since the Civil War.