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After decades of contemplation and debate, a group known as Better Together is recommending an end to the “Great Divorce” between St. Louis and St. Louis County.Better Together is proposing an ambitious plan to create a unified metro government and police department and limit municipalities' ability to levy sales taxes. The plan would be decided through a statewide vote.Proponents contend it will scrape away layers of local government that has been holding the St. Louis region back. Opponents believe the plan will create an unwieldy and large centralized government that could be implemented against the will of city and county residents.

Committee Delays Vote On Krewson’s Appointments To The Board Of Freeholders

Joe Hodes, 16th Ward Republican committeeman, introduces himself to a committee of the Board of Aldermen on Monday. Hodes is one of nine people Mayor Lyda Krewson has nominated to serve on the Board of Freeholders. Oct. 7, 2019
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Joe Hodes, 16th Ward Republican committeeman, introduces himself to a committee of the Board of Aldermen on Monday. Hodes is one of nine people Mayor Lyda Krewson has nominated to serve on the Board of Freeholders.

The nine people nominated by Mayor Lyda Krewson to serve on a committee looking into consolidating government in St. Louis and St. Louis County will have to wait a bit longer to know if they cleared the first hurdle.

A committee of the Board of Aldermen on Monday spent five hours hearing testimony from the nominees to the Board of Freeholders, but did not take a vote. An exact reason for the delay wasn’t given. 

Committee members were concerned about the geographic and racial diversity of the panel. Four of the nine nominees are black, and just one lives in a ward outside the central corridor or south St. Louis.

Mayor Lyda Krewson encouraged the committee members to look at the diversity of experience that her picks bring to the table. One is a former director of human services. Another is a consultant on diversity in tech. A third is an attorney who ran a boarding house for Marines while he was in college in New Orleans studying vocal performance.

“This diverse group of folks have one really, really important thing in common, and that is that they are all putting the interests of St. Louis city first,” she said.

The nine nominees are:

  • Independent Abdul-Kaba Abdullah, executive director of Park Central Development
  • Democrat Bridget Flood, executive director of the Incarnate Word Foundation
  • Republican Joe Hodes, director of state and industry relations for the National Corn Growers Association and the 16th Ward Republican committeeman
  • Democrat LaShana Lewis, CEO and founder of L.M. Lewis Consulting
  • Republican Taunia Allen Mason, who works for the St. Louis Science Center in a STEM outreach program and is the 28th Ward Republican committeewoman
  • Democrat Earl Nance Jr., pastor at Greater Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church
  • Independent Eddie Roth, an attorney and former director of the city’s Department of Human Services
  • Democrat Jerry Schlichter, an attorney who helped develop the state historic preservation tax credit
  • Republican Dan Zdrodowski, an attorney at Hais, Hais & Goldberger 

The committee will vote on the nominees individually on Friday, just before the Board of Aldermen. Krewson said she does not have alternates selected if any of these nine are rejected. It’s also not legally clear if she would be able to make new nominations.

The St. Louis County Council may vote on County Executive Sam Page’s nominations on Tuesday. Gov. Mike Parson has not yet named his lone nominee to the Board of Freeholders.

The Freeholders have a year after they are confirmed to come up with a plan to present to city and county voters.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

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