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Hiring debate highlights Board's split

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By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A debate over whether to go into closed session highlighted fault lines within the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Friday.

The board routinely goes into closed session when interviewing and hiring job candidates.

But today Alderman Steve Conway moved to keep the session open, because, he says the last closed meeting was so contentious.

"This has become, under President Reed, the most divisive Board of Aldermen that I've ever seen in my life," Conway said. "And I believe the public needs to see that and make their own determination."

Conway says the African-American Aldermanic Caucus has interviewed and endorsed candidates for jobs.

Alderman Terry Kennedy is the caucus chairman. He says that's not the case.

"To begin to throw innuendo about who has done what and what's up under the table is unnecessary, and in my opinion does not serve the people of this city," Kennedy said.

Kennedy also is on the personnel committee and says the board is experiencing growing pains as it attempts to put a more professional selection process in place.

The board ultimately voted to seek legal counsel to determine whether it can discuss personnel matters in public.

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