St. Louis City Alders to Become $72,000 Part-Time Jobs

This week, Alder Carol Howard introduces Board Bill 119 to increase Board of Alders salaries to $72,000 and increase expense accounts to $5,000. Howard has terminated her candidate committee and does not plan on running in 2023 for the new 2nd Ward that she was redistricted into with 16th Ward Alder Tom Oldenburg.

The proposed ordinance does not require Alders to serve full-time. Among the current Alders, there are five attorneys- including one at a firm involved in developments, two bankers involved in developments, two business owners, numerous landlords, other occupations, and conflicts of interest galore easily remedied with requiring the position to be full-time. Conflicts of interest from Alder Jack Coatar’s employment with Spencer Fane were an issue in Tuesday’s Board President election.

The City Charter requires the Mayor to be full time: “The mayor shall devote his entire time to the duties of his office.” Similar language needs to be added for the Board President and Alders. But that requires a Charter Amendment and public vote. That takes time.

The Board of Alders is about to have a monumental transformation next year: 28 wards reduced to 14 wards. Voters will elect alders to serve a double number of constituents and double the geography in March-April. The potential increase in workload- and I say potential because I have had personal experience with lazy Alders- without commensurate pay could be a deterrent to running for office and reducing choices for voters. The time to increase salaries and require full time service is now.

Inserting “devote their entire time to the duties of their office” should be inserted into Board Bill 119. Alders cannot require the job to be full time except by Charter Amendment, but they can create a two tier salary system. Higher salary for those who make it full time and the lower, current salary for those who wish to be part-time. Stands to reason that it would make a good election issue- full-time v. part-time.

I am not saying that all Alders with jobs and businesses right now (or in the past) are not working hard for constituents. I am saying that making the job full-time with a decent salary reduces some opportunities for conflicts of interest at the same time it may increase the pool of potential candidates by making it more affordable to do so.

Results of my quick searches for occupations other than Alder for current Board of Alders. Let me know of any additions or corrections.

New 1st Ward
Current 12th Ward Alder William ‘Bill’ Stephens: former librarian
Current 13th Ward Alder Anne Schweitzer: political campaign consultant

New 2nd Ward
Current 14th Ward Alder Carol Howard- former school principal
Current 16th Ward Alder Tom Oldenburg: Vice President for Community Development |at US Bancorp Community Development Corp

New 3rd Ward
Current 11th Ward Alder Jimmy Lappe: Director of Data & Research at Missouri Jobs With Justice
Current 25th Ward Alder Shane Cohn:

New 4th Ward
Current 23rd Ward Alder Joe Vaccaro: former car wash owner
Current 24th Ward Alder Bret Narayan: attorney, private practice

New 5th Ward
Current 10th Ward Alder & Acting Board President Joseph Vollmer: owner of Milo’s, landlord

New 6th Ward
Current 8th Ward Alder Annie Rice: attorney at Khazaeli Wyrsch Stock until 2021
Current 15th Ward Alder Megan Ellyia Green: Adjunct Professor at Washington University

New 7th Ward
Current 6th Ward Alder Christine Ingrassia: paddle guide for Big Muddy Adventures (obviously not a full time gig)

New 8th Ward
Current 7th Ward Alder Jack Coatar: attorney at Spencer Fane’s Litigation, Governmental Affairs, and Real Estate Practice 
Current 9th Ward Alder Dan Guenther: former Monarch Community Liaison at Office of Sustainability
Current 20th Ward Alder Cara Spencer: Senior Vice President for Community and Economic Development at St. Louis Bank

New 9th Ward
Current 17th Ward Alder Tina Pihl: landlord
Current 28th Ward Alder Michael Gras: attorney at Davis & Gras

New 10th Ward
Current 26th Ward Alder Shameem Clark Hubbard:

New 11th Ward
Current 19th Ward Alder Marlene Davis:
Current 21st Ward Alder Laura Keys: landlord Clinical Data Coordinator at Biomedical Systems

New 12th Ward
Current 1st Ward Alder Sharon Tyus: attorney, landlord
Current 4th Ward Alder Dwinderlin Evans: landlord
Current 18th Ward Alder Jesse Todd:

New 13th Ward
Current 2nd Ward Alder Lisa Middlebrook: home healthcare
Current 22nd Ward Alder Norma Walker: owner of Belt Loop Trucking, landlord
Current 27th Ward Alder Pam Boyd: Certified Dietary Manager at The Valley Stonebridge Community skilled nursing facility

New 14th Ward
Current 3rd Ward Alder Brandon Bosley:
Current 5th Ward Alder James Page: