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BIZ JOURNAL: St. Louis county executive names his Board of Freeholders slate

St. Louis county executive names his Board of Freeholders slate

The roster includes the former CEO of Bi-State Development and a former political rival to Steve Stenger
By Erik Siemers  –  St. Louis Business Journal 

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page on Tuesday unveiled his slate of nine candidates for the Board of Freeholders, the politically appointed body that will be tasked with devising changes to the region's government structure over the next year.

Page's roster of appointees features a politically diverse mix of public and private industry leaders, including a few high profile names. Among them: Mark Mantovani, the Ladue businessman who narrowly lost to Steven Stenger in last year's Democratic primary for county executive, and John Nations, the former three-term mayor of Chesterfield who also served 8 years as CEO of Bi-State Development.

“As we face the future, every part of our community must be heard. This talented group will bring different perspectives, life experiences, and professional expertise to the table,” Page said in a news release. “I am confident they are committed to a fair process that empowers the board to think creatively, to listen carefully, and to identify solutions we can all get behind.”

His appointees are:

  • Cheryl Milton Roberts, Democrat and senior equal opportunity and diversity practitioner for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
  • John Nations, a Republican who in addition to his former roles in Chesterfield and Bi-State is currently chair of the Business Services Group at St. Louis law firm Evans and Dixon LLC.
  • Dee Joyner, the politically independent director of Resilient Communities at the Adrian Dominican Sisters and former senior vice president at Commerce Bank. Joyner was chief of staff to former St. Louis County Executive H.C. Milford.
  • Mark Mantovani, a Democrat and CEO of St. Louis marketing technology agency Ansira.
  • Carol Stroker, a Democrat and member of the Hazelwood City Council who formerly served in the Missouri House of Representatives.
  • Jason Wilson, a Democrat, CEO of Northwest Coffee Roasting Co., and member of the Clayton Board of Education.
  • Katy Forand, a Republican and president of the board of directors for Lemay Child and Family Center. She also works for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Advantage Realtors.
  • Fred Searcy, a Democrat and trustee of Mt. Herald Missionary Baptist Church and director of minority recruitment for Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562.
  • Alex Garza, an Independent who is chief medical officer at SSM Health. He previously served associate dean and professor at Saint Louis University College of Public Health and Social Justice and as assistant secretary and chief medical officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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The Municipal League of Metropolitan St. Louis last month submitted the petition signatures required to create a Board of Freeholders. The petitions were certified Sept. 23, setting off a month-long process for Page and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewon to gain approval for nine appointees each.

Krewson submitted her nominees on Sept. 23. Gov. Mike Parson, who will select the 19th member of the board, has yet to submit a name for consideration.

Page's appointees must be approved by the County Council while Krewson must seek approval from the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. Each governing body has until Oct. 23 to approve their appointees.

The Board of Freeholders will then have one year to devise a plan to alter the two governments. That could include the city re-entering the county as a municipality, among other options.

The city and the county split up in 1876, and all prior efforts to reunite them, including via Boards of Freeholders, have failed.

The Municipal League began its push for a Board of Freeholders in January when the campaign known as Better Together campaign was proposing to merge the city of St. Louis with St. Louis County through a November 2020 statewide vote.

Better Together's plan collapsed in May after former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger was indicted on federal corruption charges and resigned. He had figured prominently in the plan.

Municipal League Executive Director Pat Kelly has said if the Board of Freeholders comes up with a plan to submit to local voters, that election would likely come in the second half of 2021.

P.O. Box 410091
Saint Louis, MO 63141
Paid for by Page for Missouri, Sue Felling, Treasurer

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