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Politically Speaking: Fractured St. Louis County Council, as explained by a councilmember

St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, July 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
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St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis County Councilman Pat Dolan to the program for the first time.

The Richmond Heights Democrat has served on the seven-member council since 2011. He represents the 5th District, which takes in more than a dozen municipalities in eastern and central St. Louis County. Dolan also is the president of Sprinkler Fitters Local 268.

His path to the council began as a member of the Richmond Heights City Council for eight years, then winning election to the County Council in 2010. He was re-elected in 2014 and said he’ll run for a third term next year.

Dolan and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger have been close allies for a number of years. As a majority of the council turned against Stenger in recent months, Dolan often sides with Stenger during contentious disputes.

For example, Dolan publicly defended the decision to expand the St. Louis County prosecutor’s pension. Dolan also voted against a resolution investigating whether county officers assigned to patrol MetroLink stations and trains violated any laws. That came after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published articles on how officers assigned to patrol MetroLink may not be doing their jobs.

Here’s what Dolan had to say during the show:

  • He has a paid position within the Missouri AFL-CIO, where he’s part of a program aimed at bringing more minorities and women into labor unions. Dolan says the program has graduated roughly 10 classes since the program began in 2014; each class has up to 15 students.

 

  • Dolan says that the St. Louis County Police Department is professional enough to discipline officers who are not performing well. “I believe that the county police have enough integrity to perform the investigation,” he said. “And if not and need more assistance, they’ll ask for it.”

 

  • He also said he supports St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, who has come under fire since the Post-Dispatch reports came out. Dolan added that officers who patrol the MetroLink are doing a good job. “They just go about their business every day doing their job,” he said. “Every time they do an arrest or prevent something, it’s not publicized. But they are there.”

 

  • Dolan questioned whether a bill to essentially take away county Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s pension would be legal. He also said it makes sense to give that position a robust retirement package, adding it gives officeholders incentive to stay on the job for longer periods of time.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Music: “Cities in Dust” by Siouxsie and the Banshees and “Not That Strong” by Prairie Rehab

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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