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Plan to Cut Board of Aldermen Moves Forward

Kevin Killeen
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Alderwoman Phyllis Young, St. Louis Board of Aldermen

Alderwoman Phyllis Young, St. Louis Board of Aldermen

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ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Alderwoman Phyllis Young’s plan to make historic cuts in the size of the board of aldermen is getting a good response from aldermen.

Her bill passed out of committee by a vote of 7-1, and heads to the floor for more debate.

If approved, it would cut the 28-member board down to 14 aldermen. City voters would still have to approve the plan, because it would require changing the city charter.

Voting yes on the plan, Alderman Steve Conway says when it comes to aldermen, the fewer, the better.

“You’ll have to start addressing city-wide issues and larger issues,” Conway said, “which really are important to the city’s direction, not any individual, particular neighborhood, but where the city’s going in the future.”

The lone no-vote on the committee was Alderman Terry Kennedy, chairman of the aldermanic black caucus. Kennedy was unavailable for comment Friday, but he has earlier warned that slashing the size of the board could weaken African American political power.

img 4062 Plan to Cut Board of Aldermen Moves Forward

Alderwoman Marlene Davis, St. Louis Board of Aldermen

Taking issue with that fear, Alderwoman Marlene Davis says it could be done fairly.

“If you look at it now, it’s twelve black aldermen among 28, and so, that’s not quite half,” Davis said, “And if you have 14 (aldermen), the ratio might be five or six (black aldermen). It might probably stay the same.”

The plan is expected to come up for debate later this month. One reason aldermen may be receptive to cutting their own jobs is it would not take effect until after the next census, and many alderman hope to move onto greater things by then.

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