ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Sam Page has been the interim St. Louis County Executive for less than 24 hours. However, he’s making it clear there will be a big change in county government.
“We’re taking a new direction,” he said. “There will be transparency, accountability, and professionalism. We will work together and there will be no interruption of services.”
Page says he’s a team player who will work with council and department directors to make sure he’s leading the county in the correct direction. He’s also going to review all contracts called into question by the federal indictment of former county executive Steve Stenger.
“Including all individuals who have contracts with the county, even if the specific contract was not called into question,” he said.
Page adds that if they find wrongdoing they’ll terminate the contract if possible. Page is taking a leave of absence in the next few weeks from his profession as an anesthesiologist, walking away from a lucrative career in the process.
“It was a conversation with my wife that changed my mind,” Page said. “She said the county is a mess and you know more about it than anyone and you should go and try and help fix it.”
As far as the Better Together merger goes, Page says "right now" he is not a supporter of the plan.
“As a general rule, I would not support a process that would make changes to county government that would not be decided on exclusively by city and county voters,” he said.
The county council, according to its charter, voted Page in without public comment of any kind. This upset several north county politicians, including Hazel Erby, who says they rushed to a vote.
“Hazel has always been a friend of mine and closest on the council,” Page said. “I do have a good record of working with north county and hope to expand on that.”
Page, who represented the county’s 2nd District, says an election will be held to replace his seat. He says he’ll serve the rest of this term until November 2020. Page hasn’t decided what he will do after that yet.