Phone: (314) 843-0102
Fax: (314) 843-0508
flag image

Stenger to seek county executive's post

It's time for new leadership, 6th District councilman says

Gloria Lloyd
Staff Reporter

October 23, 2013 - Sixth District County Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, will challenge County Executive Charlie Dooley for the Democratic nomination for the county's top job next year, pledging to restore the accountability of county government in the process.

Stenger announced his candidacy for county executive last week surrounded by labor and political leaders, including county Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, who had retracted his support of Dooley the week before.

Listing a series of scandals involving county government in recent months, including millions of dollars in computer contracts awarded to a fake company owned by a health department employee and an FBI investigation into a subcontract awarded to a member of the St. Louis County Police Board, Stenger said the scandals have shaken public confidence in county government.

"After a decade, it's time for new leadership," he added.

The County Council appointed Dooley, then a councilman representing north county, as county executive after County Executive Buzz Westfall died in October 2003.

Stenger, 41, an attorney and certified public accountant who is a partner in the Clayton law firm Klar, Izsak & Stenger LLC, was first elected to the council in 2008, defeating Republican John Campisi on a platform opposing the creation of trash districts in unincorporated St. Louis County.

He was re-elected to another four-year term last November.

Since his Oct. 17 announcement, residents from south county and throughout the county have inundated Stenger with calls and letters of support, he told the Call.

"I think they really like the idea of restoring public confidence in St. Louis County government," he said. "I think they want to have a government that they can believe in and a government that they can trust and a government that's transparent."

As his first step if he is elected, Stenger plans to conduct a top-to-bottom forensic audit of county government to look for irregularities and re-vet every vendor, department, policy and procedure of the county. The audit Stenger proposes would be much more extensive than the normal audit the county does each year, which relies on a statistical sampling, he said.

"A top-to-bottom of everything, literally everything," he said. "That's the only way we're going to know where we are, and it's very much well worth it. Both in the short run and the long run, it's going to provide a baseline from which we can judge county operations, and it will give us great insight into what we need to do to right this ship, restore public confidence and restore integrity in the executive branch."

At his announcement, Stenger criticized what he called the awarding of plum county jobs to political cronies, inaccurate budget forecasts that led to alarm about closing the county's parks, domestic violence victims being turned away from county shelters, the county's lack of response to the underground fire at the Bridgeton landfill and the continuing federal investigations into county contracts.

"For those who have been working hard to turn this community around, they have a friend in this campaign and this candidate," Stenger said. "This is going to be an all-hands-on-deck effort to restore confidence in our county government ... A county free of embarrassments and scandals, at a minimum. I will fight beside you and work with you to usher in a new day for all of us in St. Louis County."

Stenger's fellow County Council members, 5th District Councilman Pat Dolan, D-Richmond Heights, and 4th District Councilman Mike O'Mara, D-Florissant, appeared at his side for the formal announcement in Clayton. Labor leaders, including representatives of firefighters' unions, also showed up to support Stenger.

McCulloch introduced Stenger at last week's announcement. Stenger, Dooley and McCulloch are all Democrats.

"The public confidence in St. Louis County government has eroded. In order to move forward as a community, we have to restore that integrity," McCulloch said as he introduced Stenger. "That integrity can be restored, but that work has to start at the top."

The Dooley campaign issued a statement the day of Stenger's announcement that said, "The announcement today by Steve Stenger that he is a candidate for county executive has no bearing whatsoever on the Dooley 2014 campaign nor will any other announcements by other potential candidates.

"Charlie Dooley is running and we are gratified by the support he is receiving in all quarters of St. Louis County."

In quarterly campaign reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission just prior to Stenger's announcement, Stenger reported receiving $223,000 in campaign donations in the past few months, including a $100,000 loan he made to his own campaign. In the same time period, Dooley raised $118,000.

Tags: St. Louis County News

  • Related Editorial
    Our Town
    Sunset Hills mayor calls out 'freaks' who opposed him
    Furrer rails at aldermen who tried to impeach him
    Feb 10 2016
    Sunset Hills Mayor Mark Furrer had already made the media rounds by the time the Board of Aldermen met for the first time since Furrer’s felony charges were dropped, but near the end of Tuesday’s meeting, ...
    Impact News
    Furrer looking forward to end of mayoral term
    Criminal, civil cases dropped: Sunset Hills mayor now sees urgent need for court reform
    Feb 03 2016
    Sunset Hills Mayor Mark Furrer says that when his term of office expires in April, he looks forward to “slipping quietly back into obscurity.”...
    School News
    Lindbergh teacher completes character education training
    Feb 10 2016
    Lindbergh High School English teacher Daniel Murphy is one of 25 local educators who recently graduated from the Sanford N. McDonnell Leadership Academy in Character Education....
    Clarice's Bridal moves to south county
    New larger location for bridal store opens in Green Park
    Feb 10 2016
    Clarice’s Bridal celebrated its grand opening in south county Thursday with a ribbon-cutting and a family celebration, in advance of the March 1 grand opening....
    Impact News
    Local meeting guide 2016
    Jan 08 2014
Site Search

Type in your zip code and click "Go" to get your 7-day forecast.