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Dooley taps Baer and Carr for county police board

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 26, 2013 - After weeks of delays and false starts, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley is making another attempt to fill the vacancies on the county’s police board.

Dooley nominated Robert Baer and T.R. Carr to the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners, a board with only two of five slots filled. Baer and Carr were nominated to fill vacancies caused by the resignations of Greg Sansone and Floyd Warmann.

Baer previously served as the CEO and president of Metro. He’s been a member of the St. Louis Police Board, the Metropolitan Sewer District Board and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority.

Carr served as mayor of Hazelwood from 2000 to 2009. He is currently the director of the master of public administration program at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

After Tuesday’s St. Louis County Council meeting, Dooley called Carr and Baer “good citizens” who want to give back to their community.

“They’re excellent choices,” he said.

Baer's and Carr’s nominations come after several months of fits and starts to fill the police board, which has come under increased public scrutiny this year. The board came under fire after a general contractor had awarded SM Mechanical LLC a $3.7 million subcontract for heating and air conditioning construction for St. Louis County’s new crime lab. Sansone is an owner of SM Mechanical LLC.

Dooley initially nominated Republican Dave Spence and Democrat Freddie Clark to fill Sansone's and Warmann’s spots on the board. But both men eventually withdrew their nominations, with Spence pointing to a recent ordinance mandating background and credit checks.

Since then, Dooley told reporters that the ordinance was making it difficult to find nominees for the board. That’s meant that the board was one member short of a quorum.

Both Baer and Carr will need to receive approval from the county council before they can serve on the board. At least three members of the county council – Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, Councilman Greg Quinn, R-Ballwin, and Councilwoman Coleen Wasinger, R-Town & Country – said they want to know about the nominees before making any definitive determinations.

“I haven’t had a chance to really see any bios on the gentlemen,” Dolan said. “So I’d rather not comment.”

During the county council’s public forum section, University City resident Tom Sullivan said it “would be difficult to imagine a worse choice” than Baer. 

"Bob Baer has long been one of this area's leading fixers," said Sullivan, who then criticized his tenure at Metro and the Metropolitan Sewer District.

He also said that Baer and John Temporiti – Dooley’s longtime campaign manger – worked together at Unigroup. But Dooley said Temporiti had no influence whatsoever on Baer's selection.

“I know Mr. Baer personally,” Dooley said. “He’s a friend of mine. I know Mr. T.R. Carr personally. He’s a friend of mine. They’re both very good friends of mine. Good people in the community. They gave back to the community. And they will continue to give back to the community. I asked them to step forward and they said they’d do it.”

In a letter to council members, Dooley nominated Baer as a Republican and Carr as an independent. According to the charter, the board – which currently has two independents – cannot have more than three members belonging to the same political party.

In 2008 Carr ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for a north St. Louis County-based state representative seat, losing to Rep. Margo McNeil, D-Florissant. Dooley said that Carr put down in his application that he was an independent.

(Carr’s assistant at SIUE told the Beacon he was out of the office this week.)

Dooley still needs to fill another slot on the board, which was left vacant after Republican member Ray Wagner stepped down. Dooley told reporters the third nominee would be named over the “next couple of weeks.”

He expected that the council would confirm Baer's and Carr’s nominations.

“I can’t imagine why not,” Dooley said. “These are good people. I expect them to be confirmed.”

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