CLAYTON, Mo. – Tuesday night marked the first in-person St. Louis County Council meeting since the start of the pandemic. Many residents had plenty to say a key official who was not there. St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page appeared at the meeting remotely.
Most of the public forum was directed at Page, with one resident asking him to resign immediately.
“These actions are not indicative of leaders but of dictators and tyrants,” one man said. “I am not challenging your authority, Sam Page, I am completely denying it. Will you resign tonight?”
After listening to the many requests of residents, the county council held its first in-person meeting in several months. Many were glad to return to in-person meetings so they could be seen and heard.
“We can’t respect you until you respect us,” Amanda Garavaglia said.
Garavaglia was one of many at Tuesday’s meeting who spoke out about the county executive’s handling of the pandemic.
“There’s nothing consistent. If our masks are working and we’re vaccinated, why couldn’t I get that last hug?” she said.
Garavaglia’s father passed away weeks ago. With her family members vaccinated they weren’t allowed to see her father in the hospital until he was already gone.
“I am here to say these restrictions have caused more pain on anybody and everybody in this county,” she said. “Except for maybe you and Sam Page. Maybe you too, (Councilman) Trakkas. I feel bad for you. You do get a little bit of bad press sometimes.”
Garavaglia was glad in-person county council meetings have returned. Now, like many at Tuesday night’s meeting, she wants to see Page resign.
“He’s a coward,” she said.
Meanwhile, the county’s ethics committee has referred letters to Mercy Hospital and Western Anesthesiology to see how much work Dr. Page has been doing for them in addition to his civic duties for the county.
Additional work is not prohibited for council members.
“Dr. Page, you really should have been here tonight,” said another county resident. “There’s really no excuse for you not to be here tonight and stand up and at least listen to us face-to-face.”