No-confidence resolution against St. Louis County Police Chief Mary Barton on county council meeting agenda

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A no-confidence resolution against Police Chief Mary Barton is on the agenda for Tuesday night’s St. Louis County Council meeting.

Barton was appointed County Police Chief on May 1, 2020. She is the first female chief in the department’s history. Her short tenure has included controversy but is defending herself against this move.

According to the Post-Dispatch, the resolution is being sponsored by County Council member Rita Heard Days, who is also the council chair.

It is unclear at this point whether the resolution will have enough votes to pass.

FOX 2 obtained a copy of the resolution from Days’ assistant. It levels harsh criticism against Barton in multiple areas. It says she has “fumbled her way through the position of chief.” The resolution claims that the County Council has “serious concerns of mismanagement within the St. Louis County Police Department under the leadership of Chief Mary Barton.” 

The resolution criticizes Barton’s handling of several issues related to race and it questions Barton’s “practice of transferring St. Louis County officers to different departments.” The resolution also says Barton is “incapable of guiding the St. Louis County Police Department in the right direction.” 

In a statement, Chief Barton says, “Personnel changes are not made in retaliation. Placing our staff in roles where they utilize their skills and contribute to the success of our community and department is a strategic plan and does not always result in making everyone happy. Most chiefs of police do not win popularity contests. For almost a year, some people have refused to accept the fact that I was appointed as the chief of police. Despite that, I will continue to serve in the best interest of the St. Louis County Police Department, all its employees and the citizens of St. Louis County.” 

Former St. Louis County Police Chief and current County Council member Tim Fitch said he will vote against the resolution for multiple reasons. Fitch said the resolution is non-binding and would be largely symbolic because decisions to hire, fire and discipline police chiefs fall under the Board of Police Commissioners and not the County Council. 

It would take four votes to pass the resolution. 

The assistant to Days said a vote is expected at Tuesday night’s meeting. 

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. and is virtual.

The council does have oversight of the county police budget.

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