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Aldermen Say Charter Reformers Should Show Financial Statements

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By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – The St. Louis Board of Aldermen passed a bill Friday that would require anyone proposing changes to the city charter with the hope of saving money to submit a statement outlining how much.

Alderman Stephen Gregali says the group Empower St. Louis is lying about the potential financial benefits of charter changes.

"If they're telling people that these charter reform issues are going to save them money, then I think they are also obligated to tell the people how much money it's going to save them," Gregali said. "I'm not going to present something to the board and say 'this is going to save the people money' without telling them how much."

Former Alderwoman Marit Clark, who now heads Empower St. Louis, says the bill is just an attempt to avoid change.

"It's interesting that all of the sudden it pops up now," Clark said. "I think the spirit of it was to thwart our efforts, although I don't think it's going to, I think that was the spirit of it. It's unfortunate that the aldermen are so threatened by these changes that they are going through all these gymnastics to block us."

Clark says the city can save money by letting aldermen change civil service regulations, but she could not say how much.

The group also wants to reduce the number of aldermen, consolidate the seven citywide elected positions and give the city a new finance department.

Empower St. Louis is still trying to get its proposals on the November ballot.

A spokesman for Mayor Francis Slay says the mayor is reviewing the bill, but has not decided whether he'll veto it.

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