Who will lead St. Louis County? Special meeting set for tonight

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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on charges of bribery, mail fraud, and theft of honest services. Stenger also resigned as county executive on Monday in a letter to County Counselor Peter Krane, writing that, “it is in the best interest of our County and my family.”

Stenger did not respond to a request for comment.

Under the county charter, the St. Louis County Council will decide Monday night who will serve as the interim county executive until the November 2020 election. It has to be a Democrat in St. Louis County but not necessarily a council member.

Some people think the next leader could be council member Sam Page or Council Member Hazel Erby. But there is a group promoting the man who lost to Stenger in the Democratic primary. Mark Mantovani narrowly lost to Steve Stenger. The margin of victory was less than a percentage point.

“Sure, I want the job. Of course, I would accept. I worked a year and a half to communicate with the St. Louis County and the broader region what my vision was for this community,” Mantovani said. “I would love to have the job I would love to serve.”

Former state senator Joan Bray was leading the charge to put Mantovani in charge of the county.

The council has already received input from County Counselor Peter Krane. In a letter, Krane determined it’s legal for the council to hold an emergency meeting without giving 24-hour notice and members can appoint the interim county executive.

Bray and Mantovani want the council to put the brakes on the appointment, maybe appoint a temporary person in charge and then in a week or so select an interim county executive.

“We are asking the council to take a deep breath don’t rush this process. We want to see the council act very rationally and in the best interest of the people,” Bray said.

County council member Republican Mark Harder said this was a sad day for St. Louis County although he’s not surprised by the charges against Stenger.

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