Mayor Wants Taxpayers To Pay For Rex Sinquefield Lobbyist

Thanks to Gerry Connolly, we know who has been hired as Mayor Lyda Krewson’s lobbyist today.

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Today’s meeting was not posted to the City’s Online Calendar. It was taped to an elevator at City Hall. I’m glad Gerry took time out from his busy day to go and get the information for us.

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And the winner of the Mayor’s Lobbyist Contract is… Jeff Aboussie’s Regional Strategies (business consulting and government relations per LLC filing), of Wildwood MO. The Selection Committee vote was 4-1 with Board President Lewis Reed being the lone opposing vote (cast by Tom Shepard, Reed’s Chief of Staff).

As if there had been any doubt this would happen.

Aboussie represents Rex Sinquefield’s Great St. Louis, which paid for the Prop A Body Cam Scam and Prop B Election Date Scam ballot issues last April, and works with The Kelley Group.

Clare Gates Hudec, of The Kelley Group, is Deputy Treasurer of Mayor’s Krewson’s campaign committee and Treasurer of April’s Proposition P campaign- Citizens for a Safer St. Louis, a sale tax for police and fire fighter raises. The Kelley Group also ran St. Louis County’s Proposition P sales tax campaign.

Meg Shackelford, of The Kelley Group, is Treasurer for 7th Ward Alderman Jack Coatar’s campaign committee and STL Citizens for Responsible Government, one of Kelley Group’s political action committees that accepts money from one source and regifts it to candidates who could not legally accept it from the original source.

Aboussie’s current Labor Union clients include International Union of Operating Engineers Local 101 in Kansas City and Locals 148 & 513 in St. Louis. In 2016, Aboussie resigned as Executive Secretary and Treasurer for St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, a post he held for 7 years, to became a lobbyist/consultant.

His other clients include…
American Concrete Paving Association, Lenexa KS
Arch Fiber Networks, Edwardsville IL
(pro-nuclear) Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future, Jefferson City MO
(hemp greenhouse) Noah Arc Foundation, Chesterfield MO
St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission

The Selection Committee first met on October 2nd to begin drafting the Request for Proposal. As of October 16, 2017, Kiel Center Partners and SC STL of #mls2stl fame were no longer Aboussie’s clients.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

 

 

 

 

Previous post on Mayor’s Lobbyist.

 

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Let’s Cut A Mayoral Appointee To Save Money

city-hall3During the last Budget battle, City departments were told to slash payroll and did. This was done by new retirements and not filling old vacancies. Most everyone slashed payroll except Mayor Lyda Krewson. Her office got additional staff and more money.

Now, as it turns out, the Mayor doesn’t have to give up office staff to make a personal cost cutting choice.

St. Louis City is both a City and its own County. Like any other County in Missouri, we have elected or appointed offices performing county duties by state law- Assessor, Circuit Court Clerk, Collector of Revenue, Coroner/Medical Examiner, Prosecuting Attorney/Circuit Attorney, Public Administrator, Recorder of Deeds, Sheriff, and Treasurer.

We also have a License Collector and some other anomalies. Our County Recorder is also our City Vital Records Registrar. Our County Treasurer is also our City Treasurer and Parking Czar. Our City Comptroller is also our County Auditor. Our City Board of Aldermen and Board of Estimate and Apportionment are our County Commission/Council. Our Mayor is our County Executive. Our City Register is our County Clerk.

You can find our County offices on Page 772 of the 2015-2016 Missouri State Manual.

Our City Register/County Clerk is keeper of various records but, unlike, most other County Clerks, is not our Election Authority. Here, we do not run our own elections. The Governor appoints a Board of Election Commissioners to oversee our elections. Governor controls. We pay the bills. Local control via an elected Register/County Clerk would be better. But Rex Sinquefiled, the man who bought local control of the Police Department for St. Louis, doesn’t seem to be interested in empowering us to run our own elections.

With no reason to believe the Legislature is going to do St. Louis City any favors, and no sugar daddy to fund a ballot issue to force the state to return control of elections to us, we are pretty much free to consolidate the City Register with another office.

The City Register is a records center. Who else is in the public records business at City Hall? The Recorder of Deeds & Vital Records Registrar and City Comptroller. Either one of the offices would make good places to consolidate the Register.

How does this save money? The Register is a mayoral appointee. If you combine the office with another office and make the elected Recorder or Comptroller also the Register, you free up the salary of the previous mayoral patronage job. Comptroller would become Comptroller and Register. Or Recorder becomes Recorder of Deeds, Vital Records Registrar, and City Register.

That’s not to say the City Register does not put in a day’s work for a day’s pay. But by consolidating a three person office into a larger office, one where employees are cross trained to perform numerous functions and fill in when needed, cutting that appointee salary could be done.

What would be necessary to make this change? A charter amendment removing the Register from the list of mayoral appointees  and giving the Comptroller or Recorder the title of Register. Pretty sure voters would approve such an amendment and appreciate the opportunity to vote on something to cut a cost as opposed to raising a tax.

Mayor Krewson was in the reform camp as a alderwoman. Here’s a reform waiting for her to take the lead on.

In fact, the Mayor could do it tomorrow without a charter amendment. She could appoint the Comptroller or Recorder as Register in the interim until a charter amendment could be passed.

Far fetched? Not really. It was considered by Mayor Francis Slay early in his first term. He had worked to consolidate Vital Records with the Recorder of Deeds and was interested in also consolidating the Register with Recorder.

Does getting rid of one salary save a lot of money? No.

But is there a good reason to keep the Register a mayoral appointee? No.

Go ahead. Ask the Mayor. There’s no checks and balances rationale for maintaining this post as a reward to a supporter.

And if the Mayor doesn’t lead on this, then, hopefully, someone at the Board of Aldermen will.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman