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Surprise vote by Police Board gets rid of civilian residency rule

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Mayor Francis Slay (L) and Police Board President Chris Goodson (R)

By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The new head of the St. Louis Police Board says he's willing to re-visit Wednesday's vote on residency, if that's what Mayor Francis Slay wants.

The vote lifted the requirement that the department's 500 civilian employees have to live in the City.

Mayor Francis Slay sits on the board but had left before the residency vote to attend a ceremony marking the re-dedication of the Old Post Office. The issue was not on the meeting's agenda and had he known it would come up, Slay says he would have stayed.

Slay later blasted the move, saying it should be reconsidered. The Police Board's new President, Chris Goodson, says he respects Slay's position.

"He is the elected board member. He's one board member, but he is the mayor of the City of St. Louis, so if he has some issues and concerns and wants to bring them up, absolutely. I'm open to that."

The surprise vote came after Chief Joe Mokwa asked for a residency waiver for only a handful technology-based positions. But Commissioner Michael Quinn then amended the motion to include all civilian employees.

Last year, the board voted to let officers to move out of the city, but only after seven years on the job.

Slay says he wants the Police Board to take back the vote, but he's also quick to add he doesn't not consider the action a purposeful sneak attack.

"I believe they got caught up in the moment, really didn't think through what they were doing. I'm confident of that.

"Because, obviously, when you look at it, it makes no sense."

Slay notes that city employees now face three different rules, depending on where they work. Officers can leave the city after seven years. Non-officers in the police department can now leave any time. But all other city workers have to live in the city.

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