St. Louis County | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County

Nurses at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center say without raises, more employees will continue to leave for the private sector.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly one-third of the nursing positions at the St. Louis County Jail are vacant, according to the county’s Department of Public Health. Nurses and public-health officials say the pay isn’t sufficient to keep people from leaving.

Nurses from the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton on Monday told members of the St. Louis County Council if the county does not pay them more, it’s likely nurse turnover will remain high.

“In the past month, we’ve lost four longtime employees to [hospital group] SSM,” said corrections nurse Lisa Wellman, who has been working at the jail for seven years. "And their pay-and-benefits package far exceeds what we have.”

The St. Louis County Jail is located in the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton.
Nate Birt

St. Louis County will use federal grant money to offer medication-assisted treatment to some county jail inmates with opioid addictions.

The county will use $2 million, two-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to phase in treatment for inmates in Clayton’s Buzz Westfall Justice Center.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The fate of Hanley Hills will be decided Tuesday when residents vote to remain independent or become an unincorporated part of St. Louis County.

The measure was placed on the ballot after a former trustee, Thomas Rusan, collected hundreds of residents’ signatures this spring. The village, with 20 streets and about 2,100 residents, is sandwiched between Vinita Park and Pagedale.

Union members gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall on Aug. 8, 2017, to notarize and turn in petitions to force a statewide vote over Missouri’s right-to-work law.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the surface, the purpose of Tuesday’s primary is only to select candidates who will run in the November general election. But in reality, the results could resonate for years to come.

That’s because Missouri voters will decide whether to retain the right-to-work law, which bars unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues as a condition of employment. And in the St. Louis region, prevailing in the Democratic primary is often tantamount to election — especially in state legislative and local contests.

Ferguson Councilman Wesley Bell
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell comes back to the Politically Speaking podcast to talk about the race for St. Louis County prosecutor.

The Democratic official is taking on incumbent St. Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, one of the longest serving local officials in the entire state. Because no Republican signed up to run, the winner of the Aug. 7 primary will serve a four-year term.

St. Louis County's first chief diversity officer is Jack L. Thomas Jr.
St. Louis County

Hiring a chief diversity officer was a key recommendation of the recent disparity study commissioned by St. Louis County.

Jack L. Thomas Jr., a veteran of the workforce diversity and improvement profession, has been tapped to fill the position.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the process of developing a culture of inclusiveness within St. Louis County government, with the goal of growing sustainable minority- and women-owned business enterprises,” Thomas said in a statement.

St. Louis County Health Director Faisal Khan, left, and County Executive Steve Stenger declare a public health emergency due to the opioid crisis at a press conference Thursday in Berkley.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger declared the opioid epidemic in the county a public health emergency and endorsed a plan to have public health officials work with other organizations to combat the addiction crisis.

The declaration Stenger signed Thursday at the Department of Public Health in Berkeley endorsed an action plan that includes county health officials and other organizations, including the county's Justice Services department and the Missouri Hospital Association.

It aims to increase the public’s access to the anti-overdose drug naloxone, boost prevention education and raise access to treatment for high-risk populations such as the uninsured.

The task force will explore what kinds of affordable housing county residents need and how to finance the trust fund.
Creative Commons

Updated June 20 at 4:30 p.m. with additional comments from County Executive Steve Stenger and a local housing expert. - A key recommendation from the St. Louis Fair Housing Conference in April is prompting action in St. Louis County.

The county has assembled a task force to develop recommendations for promoting housing "equity, fairness and inclusion in our region," St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announced at a news conference Wednesday morning. 

The St. Louis County Council passed a resolution Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, asking municipalities to spend Proposition P solely on policing. The resolution is non-binding.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council plans to recommend that federal or state law enforcement agencies investigate whether County Executive Steve Stenger broke any laws when he moved some county operations to the old Northwest Plaza shopping center.

The 26-page report circulated this week by the council’s Ethics Committee takes aim at Stenger over his administration’s efforts to help redevelop the Northwest Plaza site in St. Ann.

The report – to be formally presented to the full council next week -- calls for the state attorney general or the U.S. attorney to look into the matter.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger signs an executive order that bans county officials from reviewing an applicants criminal history during the initial application process. June 11, 2018.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Most job applicants in St. Louis County will no longer have to provide their criminal history in their initial job application.

The policy commonly known as “ban the box” will prevent county officials from accessing criminal records during the first step of the job application process. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger signed an executive order Monday putting the policy into immediate effect.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger to the program.

The Democratic chief executive of Missouri’s largest county is running for a second four-year term. His main opposition is in the Democratic primary this August, where businessman Mark Mantovani is seeking to oust him. There are no well-known Republicans seeking the office.

A capsule of pills.
FDA | file photo

Last year, frustrated with a lack of commitment from state legislators, St. Louis County created its own prescription-drug monitoring program with the specific expectation other areas of the state could join in – and they have.

Mark Mantovani
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Businessman Mark Mantovani — a Democrat challenging St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger — joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies for the latest episode of Politically Speaking.

A graduate of St. Louis University High School, Mantovani grew up in the region and is a former lawyer making his first bid for public office. He is arguably the best-known and best-financed of all of Stenger’s potential opponents for the job overseeing the state’s largest county and its 1 million residents.

Mackenzie village board members, including Pat Arrendell and Dorothy Berry, sat up front for a community meeting on March 21 about what would happen if their village disincorporates.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Mackenzie Village’s voters go to the polls Tuesday, the fate of their south county community will hang in the balance.

They will decide whether to dissolve the 72-year-old village — made up of 134 residents, 68 homes, one park and three streets.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 21 at 6:15 p.m. with additional comments — The presiding judge in St. Louis County has ruled that nearly 80 percent of the circuit’s public defenders have caseloads that leave them unable to effectively represent their clients.

In an order issued Monday, Circuit Judge Douglas Beach proposed several solutions, including a waitlist for defendants who are not in jail and having private attorneys handle low-level felonies.

State Rep. Cloria Brown
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

By her own admission, Cloria Brown didn’t expect to get involved in Missouri politics. But after a highly successful business career, Brown felt it was the right time to give back to her community in south St. Louis County.

“I never had any political ambitions,” Brown said during a 2015 edition of Politically Speaking. “But I didn’t want the job to just be given to someone. And I thought I represented the area pretty well. I was doing service, and I said, 'This is another way to serve.’”

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

After a record number of influenza cases in St. Louis County in the last week of 2017, the numbers have dipped, but only slightly. 

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health reports 1,282 cases of influenza in the first week of January. That's compared to 1,304 in the last week of December, a record for the county.

St. Louis Public Radio’s interim political editor Jason Rosenbaum.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Don Marsh talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s interim political editor Jason Rosenbaum about the friction between St. Louis County executive Steve Stenger and the St. Louis County Council.

With elections looming, tensions continue between the St. Louis County Council and County Executive Stenger.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council has slashed $31 million dollars from County Executive Steve Stenger's 2018 budget proposal, a move rarely seen in the region’s largest jurisdiction.

Stenger was caught off-guard when he learned of the council’s plans shortly before it convened Tuesday night. Soon after, the seven members voted 6 - 1 to approve Council Chairman Sam Page's substitute budget. 

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s new campaign donation restrictions have given new status to St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.  He now is collecting more large contributions than any other political candidate in the state.

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