Don’t Fall for the Full-Time Alder Scam

I previously wrote about legislation to increase salaries of St. Louis City Alders to $72,000 without requiring them to devote all their time to their public office.

Now there’s an effort to amend the City Charter to make Alders full-time City employees. The problem is Alder Joe Vaccaros’ Board Bill 126 is one of two things- completely meaningless or a nightmare for courts to sort out. In either case, Alders should start over.

Vaccaro’s proposed Charter amendment doesn’t define what full-time employee means, reference current City Personnel Department language, or link to State or Federal law. He leaves it up to each person to decide for themselves what full-time means and, apparently, then litigate it to death.

Is Vaccaro proposing an honor system where each Alder says they worked x-number of hours?

Is Vaccaro suggesting that after voters passed this terribly flawed amendment that Alders would figure out some kind of report your hours to Board Clerk system.? The Board Clerk is a Board patronage employee, so there are all sort of conflicts of interest to this self-regulating full-time employee charade.

Do many or even most Alders put in forty hours a week or more? Absolutely.

Would it be a good thing to properly compensate elected officials who devote themselves to public service? Absolutely.

But this bill does not do that. Vaccaro’s proposal treats Alders who devote all their time to being an Alder and Alders who are bank vice presidents, attorneys, public relations consultants, business owners, landlords, etc. the same. See list, a work in progress, below.

There is a better way, a charter amendment that makes Alders and Board President devote all their time to the elected job, same as Charter requires the Mayor:  “The mayor shall devote his entire time to the duties of his office.

A huge bonus to requiring full devotion to the job is that it will remove conflicts of interests such as the ones posed by Jack Coatar being an Alder and working for Spencer Fane.

The proposed pay hike for Alders should be contingent on passage of a charter amendment requiring Alders to devote all their time to public service.

Make your voice heard to your Alder and the Committee hearing Vaccaro’s legislation.

New 1st Ward
Current 12th Ward Alder Bill Stephens: former librarian
Candidate and Current 13th Ward Alder Anne Schweitzer: campaign consultant at Public Eye
Candidate for 1st Ward Alder Matt E. Kotraba:
Candidate for 1st Ward Alder Tony Kirchner: deputy sheriff

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
Candidate for 2nd Ward Alder Phill Menendez: ceo of JTEKE LLC- manufacturer of the U-Stripe It & Design Tool; owner of La Casa Developer’s; account exec at Blue Line Technology facial recognition; retired Detective Sergeant from St. Louis Police Dept

New 3rd Ward
Current 11th Ward Alder Jimmy Lappe: current or former director of Data & Research at Missouri Jobs With Justice
Former 11th Ward Alder Sarah Martin: lobbyist
Current 25th Ward Alder Shane Cohn: owner of 4664 Tennessee LLC investment and redevelopment of real estate

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 Bocce Garden; co-owner TLJ Investments (funeral home); owner of TLSJ (commercial real estate); landlord
Candidate for 5th Ward Alder Helen Petty: owner of The Chop Shop, stylist

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
Candidate for 6th Ward Alder Daniela Velázquez:(vice president for Corporate Reputation at FleishmanHillard; owner of Mavend Media LLC; former Senior Public Relations Strategist at Elasticity; former communications director at Missouri ACLU

New 7th Ward
Current 6th Ward Alder Christine Ingrassia: paddle guide for Big Muddy Adventures
Candidate for 7th Ward Alder Alisha Sonnier: mental health advocate at Cigna
Candidate for 7th Ward Alder Jon-Pierre Mitchom: director of Equity and Inclusion at STL Priory School

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
Candidate for 8th Ward Alder Shedrick “Nato Caliph” Kelley: owner of Cipher Music Group; co-owner Kelley Dispatch & Logistics

New 9th Ward
Current 17th Ward Alder Tina Pihl: landlord
Current 28th Ward Alder Michael Gras: attorney at Davis & Gras
Candidate for 9th Ward Alder Michael Browning: senior grant specialist at Washington University School of Medicine; 

New 10th Ward
Current 26th Ward Alder Shameem Clark Hubbard: former salon owner

New 11th Ward
Current 19th Ward Alder Marlene Davis:
Current 21st Ward Alder Laura Keys: clinical data coordinator at Biomedical Systems; landlord

New 12th Ward
Current 1st Ward Alder Sharon Tyus: attorney; landlord
Current 4th Ward Alder Dwinderlin Evans: landlord; owner of Great Scott Enterprises
Current 18th Ward Alder Jesse Todd:
Candidate for 12th Waed Alder Darron M. Collins-Bey: work number on Board of Election filing list is Office of Veterans Affairs; owner of Elshaddai Consulting LLC; owner of Bey-El Industries Inc.
Candidate for 12th Ward Alder Tashara T Earl: owner of Shades of Color beauty supplies

New 13th Ward
Current 2nd Ward Alder Lisa Middlebrook: home healthcare
Current 22nd Ward Alder Norma Walker: owner of Belt Loop Trucking; landlord
Former 22nd Ward Alder Jeffrey Boyd: owner of The Best Place event space
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: owner of New Black Wall Street 314 LLC
Current 5th Ward Alder James Page: executive director for Downtown St. Louis Neighborhood Association; retired from U.S. Post Office