CLAYTON, Mo. – The legal battle over the selection of a St. Louis County Council chair and vice chair remains to be resolved. The dispute could put into question future actions until there’s a resolution.
The council met Tuesday with Councilwoman Rita Heard Days (D-District 1) leading the meeting. She was selected chair last week. The vote selecting her was taken even though Beth Orwick, the attorney for St. County, said the vote would not be legally binding.
The legal questions started one week earlier. Outgoing council member Rochelle Walton Gray voted on the selection of a new chair. That vote resulted in Councilwoman Lisa Clancy (D-District 5) selected chair. Gray was a deciding vote in the 4-3 decision. It’s the county’s position that vote should stand.
Others disagree because Gray lost her election to Shalonda Webb. Webb, along with Days and council members Tim Fitch (R-District 3) and Mark Harder (R-District 7), say Gray should not have been allowed to vote because her term expired at the end of 2020.
The dispute has led to St. Louis County heading to court to argue Clancy should be chair. A judge issued a preliminary order on Tuesday giving councilmembers until Friday to respond to the county’s claim. It’s not clear when a resolution will be reached.
Clancy read a statement at the start of Tuesday’s meeting echoing her belief Days should not be chair.
“I want the record to reflect my objection to this action, meantime we must also get on with our business to the best of our ability until the judge makes the ruling over the matter,” she said.
Approximately a dozen members of the public spoke during the public comment session of the meeting. There was universal support for Days with several members of the public criticizing the county for going to court with its challenge.