The race for St. Louis city treasurer is getting crowded.
Current city Democratic chairman Brian Wahby announced today that he'll challenge 30-year veteran Larry Williams and alderman Fred Wessels in the Democratic primary, which is August 2012. News reports say two other city Democrats are also thinking about challenging Williams, who finds himself at the center of allegations that he kept the former chairman of a now-defunct charter school on the payroll as a ghost employee.
"I will restore confidence to this important office," Wahby said in a statement. "I will root out the culture of corruption -- there will be no ghost employees on my watch."
Wahby also pledged to more appropriately use the millions of dollars generated per year by the parking meter division.
"This City is in a fiscal crisis," Wahby's statement continued. "The Treasurer’s Office is wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. The Treasurer generates millions of dollars a year and yet little of that money goes to support essential city services. This at a time when City residents are being asked to pay for trash collection and they are seeing other services cut back."
(The parking meter fund came up during a recent debate over city parks, when Fred Wessels told aldermen that he could find $1.7 million for ongoing park maintenance from the fund.)
Wahby spent part of the 1990s as an assistant to Williams, but said in an interview with the St. Louis Beacon that the experience working with Williams gives him a good understanding of how the office works. He was most recently the point man for St. Louis' bid to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention.