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Slay, George might meet this week to discuss promotions

Fire Chief Sherman George (left) speaks at this morning?s event while Mayor Francis Slay looks on. (KWMU photo/Tom Weber)

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A spokesman says Mayor Francis Slay will try to meet this week with Fire Chief Sherman George to discuss long delayed department promotions. That comes after the two exchanged letters about the matter last week.

Slay and George appeared together this morning (Tuesday) at an event that focused on this week's heat wave.

Afterwards, George wasn't saying much about when - or if - he'll make the promotions Slay has called for. "That's a conversation for another day," he said."

George agreed last week to begin the process of making promotions, but didn't promise anything beyond that.

Still, Slay says he considers the response is a good step and a "good faith effort" to move forward.

"He's in a very difficult position, I understand," Slay said. "I'm in a difficult position, but to move this department forward we have to work together to address the issue."

The impasse stems from a lawsuit that claimed the test used to determine promotions was biased against black candidates.

A judge earlier this year dismissed that claim. About a third of the fire department's managerial positions are unfilled right now.

Earlier last week, Slay urged George in a letter on Tuesday to end a hold on promotions at the fire department. He told the chief he feared the issue, if not addressed properly, "will severely damage your ability to lead."


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