ST. LOUIS — Kim Gardner sent her resignation letter to Governor Mike Parson Thursday afternoon. In the message, Gardner says that she will fight to protect the rights of people in St. Louis against “people outside the city.”

Part of her resignation letter says, “Stepping back is the most powerful thing I can do to stop these outsiders from taking your views and your rights. I wanted to help the people of St. Louis when I took this job, and that’s still my north star. So, with a heavy heart but a firm decision, I’m retiring as your circuit attorney on June 1.”

We are finding out more about what went on behind the scenes before Gardner quit. Gardner has been talking to the Republican president of the Missouri Senate, Caleb Rowden of Columbia, and the Democrat leader of the minority in the Senate, John Rizzo of Independence, since the beginning of this week.

We’ve heard that Gardner made a deal that if she quit, a bill that would let the governor name a special prosecutor in the city of St. Louis would be taken off the table in the Senate. In February, the bill was passed by the House. Rowden and Rizzo talk about Gardner’s decision to leave the company. Her departure relieves the governor of a lot of pressure to do something about the state taking over different parts of public safety.

Senate President Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said, “We all know that the public safety crisis in St. Louis could be caused by a number of things, but I think it’s really, really stupid for anyone to say that the inability and incompetence of that office to do their job haven’t added to the problem.”

Andrew Bailey, who has been leading the move to get rid of Gardner doesn’t want to wait until June for her to leave office.

“There is no reason for the circuit attorney to stay in office until June 1st,” Bailey said in a statement. “We are still determined to use the law to force her out of office. The city of St. Louis is in more danger every day she stays. Between now and June 1, how many people will die?”

Governor Parson will choose a new circuit attorney to finish out Gardner’s term, which ends next year. In a statement, the governor said, “We are committed to finding a candidate who represents the community, values public safety, and can help restore faith in the city’s criminal justice system.”

We’ll see what happens between now and June 1, when Gardner’s resignation takes effect.