Reed and Slay Butt Heads on Fire Pensions — Preview of 2013 Race?
ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Could the fight over how to cut firefighter’s pensions between Mayor Slay and Aldermanic President Reed be just the opening salvo in next year’s mayor’s race?
The two men have been fundraising against the likelihood of a 2013 showdown for sometime, but for the first time they clashed theatrically last week with rival plans on a major public policy issue.
On Thursday, Reed staged a late night bargaining session in his office with firefighters, then held a news conference surrounded by firefighters the next morning to announce he had a plan that was “better than the mayor’s.” Is Reed already running?
“I don’t know whether he is positioning himself,” said UMSL Political Science Professor Dave Robertson, “But the result will be that he has more publicity and more support among firefighters right now than he had a couple of months ago.”
But while Reed has raised his profile and perhaps picked up some allies among firefighters, police and city workers on a pension — he has also grabbed onto an issue that could hurt him with an even bigger voting block — taxpayers.
“The voters of St. Louis have to feel that the city is being run in an efficient and effective way,” Robertson said, “If they don’t feel that way, if there are doubts that are raised, then the incumbent mayor, the incumbent aldermanic president both could be vulnerable.”
The election is scheduled for April 2013.