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Government, Politics & Issues

Slay snags Labor Council support, while Reed's wife steps down as judge

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 16, 2013 - The Greater St. Louis Labor Council has endorsed Mayor Francis Slay’s re-election, a significant political boost that also highlights a continued split within the city's union ranks.

The council is made up of most, but not all, of the region’s unions. The exceptions include the firefighters union, which is backing the mayor’s chief Democratic rival in the March 5 primary, Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed.

The International Association of Firefighters, Local 73, gave Reed $10,000 over the weekend. The firefighters have been at odds with Slay over their pensions and his administration's effort to curb long-term costs.

However, Bob Soutier, president of the Labor Council, said that there was little argument among the council’s delegates, or its executive committee, when they met and voted this week to stick with Slay.

“We haven’t gotten everything we’ve wanted, but he’s been fair and honest with us,’’ Soutier said. He noted that labor and Slay have been on the same side on several issues related to downtown redevelopment and job creation.

So far, Slay’s major donations of $10,000 or more have generally included little labor money. He did receive $12,500 in 2012 from the Ironworkers union. (Slay’s biggest donor, by the way, is corporate magnate Sam Fox, who has given the mayor $45,000 all told.)

As the Beacon reported earlier, Slay’s latest campaign report – filed Tuesday (and optional) -- showed him with $1.49 million in the bank as of Dec. 31. That’s more than 10 times what Reed reported in the bank in his last report, filed Dec. 10. (Both must file new reports on Jan. 24.)

Politics raised as Reed’s wife resigns judicial post

Reed’s campaign also disclosed this week that his wife, Mary Entrup, had resigned Jan. 8 as a provisional municipal judge.

Entrup had been in the post for seven years. She said she “was primarily assigned as the judge for the specialty housing court established to enforce housing code for the city for the last three years.”

“Between 2009 and 2011, she heard over 26,000 housing cases, 4,500 ‘dumping’ cases and 800 lead-based paint violations,” the campaign said. “Revenue generated for the city during that same time exceeded $430,000.“

She said she resigned because the judgeship’s hours recently had been reduced from five days a week to four hours a week.

“Ostensibly, this was done to save the city money,” the campaign said. “However, the court overseen by Ms. Entrup actually generated money for the city. Most important, the timing of the reduced schedule is a bit conspicuous given that Ms. Entrup’s husband is challenging the mayor.”

Said Entrup: “I hate to believe politics was involved because I know Lewis wouldn’t do anything like this, but apparently I can’t rule it out either.”

Replied Slay's campaign manager Richard Callow:

"Nothing says 'involvement of politics' quite as clearly as a press release from the Reed campaign asserting the involvement of politics.

"Ms. Entrup, who is a good lawyer, was hired as a part-time municipal judge several years ago because Lewis Reed asked. She resigned this week because Lewis Reed asked.

"Mr. Reed and Mayor Slay have worked together for 12 years. A strategic challenge faced by Mr. Reed's campaign all along has been how to distinguish Reed from an administration that employed his wife and with which he has voted almost 100 percent of the time. The Reed campaign has made his wife quit; now they have to figure out what to do about Mr. Reed's pesky record."

(UPDATE) Reed campaign manager Glenn Burleigh replied that Callow's comments were "highly offensive."

The implication Reed's wife would take instructions from him, as it relates to her work, is "out of the 1950s,'' Burleigh said. "Mary Entrup has a stellar legal career and has built that in her own."

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