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Government, Politics & Issues

Stenger Reaches Across Party Lines To Tap Quinn For Key St. Louis County Post

Greg Quinn's Web Site

Democrat Steve Stenger, who is to be sworn in soon as the next St. Louis County executive, has made a surprising choice to be his new director of revenue: outgoing County Councilman Greg Quinn, a Republican.

Quinn is a lawyer and had been about to retire from the County Council after more than 20 years representing the county’s 7th District. That district takes in much of west St. Louis County.

Now, he’ll simply switch jobs within county government, going from the legislative branch to administration. In his new job, Quinn's duties will include overseeing the county's tax collections.

Stenger’s decision to name Quinn as a key department head is noteworthy, especially since Quinn is from the opposing party.  Such an act has been extremely rare in county government.

Stenger’s action reflects his longstanding alliance with Quinn while both have served on the council.  The two often have been on the same side on various policy matters -- such as the 2011 proposal to close many county parks -- which put both at odds with outgoing County Executive Charlie Dooley, a Democrat who lost to Stenger in the Aug. 5 primary.

Stenger’s choice of Quinn also reinforces Stenger’s efforts to assemble a bipartisan administration and bolster ties with Republicans. 

Democrats now hold five of the County Council’s seven seats, but Stenger has been at odds with some within his own party – notably Councilwoman Hazel Erby, who represents the 1st District and is a Dooley ally.  Quinn is being replaced on the council by fellow Republican Mark Harder, who won in the Nov. 4 election.

Quinn will replace current Director of Revenue Eugene Leung, who had been an appointee of Dooley.  All of Dooley’s political appointees within county government are expected to leave office when Stenger is sworn in on Jan. 1.

In fact, Stenger and his transition team already have sent out letters to many of Dooley’s appointees, to reinforce the fact that they are losing their jobs as soon as Stenger takes over.

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