CLAYTON, MO – Sam Page was sworn in as St. Louis County Executive during an emergency session of the St. Louis County Council on Monday night. Page will replace Steve Stenger who resigned earlier in the day following a federal indictment. The vote was 5-1. Councilwoman Hazel Erby voted against the appointment with Page abstaining from the vote.
Erby felt the vote deserved more consideration and should have included more public input. There was no public comment during Monday’s emergency meeting.
“That’s not democracy, “said Erby. “That’s not how it works. We should have had input. We should have let people have a say.”
Erby said she looks forward to working with Page but believes she should have been considered to replace Stenger as an interim County Executive and would not have run for the office once an election was held in 2020.
Other council members said it was important to decide quickly and pointed out the County charter gives them the authority to select the next County Executive. Some council member say it was no surprise Stenger eventually resigned and say they have been listening to others.
“We’ve heard input on different people and we’ve taken that into consideration and we feel that Mr. Page is the best candidate at this point,” said Councilman Mark Harder.
“I have been hearing from people for weeks about who they would like to be in this position,” said Councilwoman Lisa Clancy.
Former Missouri lawmaker Joan Bray attending the meeting and was disappointed. She’s a supporter of Mark Montivani. He narrowly lost to Stenger in the Democratic primary. She said, “The public should have been allowed to register their feelings and thoughts about this,”
Paul Berry III ran an unsuccessful campaign for County Executive and expressed frustration as he left the meeting.
“Why not let the people talk?” he asked.
There will be an opportunity for public comment during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled council meeting.
A special election will now be held to replace Page. His move into the County Executive’s position leaves the council with 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats until Page’s seat is filled.
Page’s district includes parts of Maryland Heights, Bridgeton, and Hazelwood.