ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – St. Louis County Police Chief Mary Barton said she was blindsided by the no-confidence resolution against her that was approved by the St. Louis County Council Tuesday.
Barton told the Post-Dispatch that the resolution was surprising, but she has no plans to resign in the wake of the council action. She also told the outlet she was not aware that there were issues with the council regarding her leadership.
The County Council approved the no-confidence resolution on Tuesday by a 4-3 vote. The council’s four Democratic members, Rita Heard Days, Lisa Clancy, Kelli Dunaway and Shalonda Webb voted in favor of the resolution. The three Republican members, Tim Fitch, Mark Harder and Ernie Trakas voted against it.
The resolution levels stiff criticism against Barton, saying she has fumbled her way through her position as chief and that the council has serious concerns of mismanagement during Barton’s short tenure.
The resolution criticizes Barton for how she handled accounts of racism in the department along with disciplinary measures and personnel issues, including allegations of officers being transferred as a form of retaliation. Barton said she is grateful for the council members who supported her and is open to constructive criticism as long as it’s based on facts.
Barton concedes that there is racism in the department but says she is working to address it. She also denies making transfers out of retaliation.
The council’s vote was largely symbolic because only the County Board of Police Commissioners can hire, fire and discipline county police chiefs.
That board met yesterday, but the Post-Dispatch reported that the no-confidence vote did not come up.