ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Mired in an FBI investigation that forced his police board chairman to quit, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley is now under fire from organized labor upset with the man he nominated to be the new chairman.
The Greater St. Louis Labor Council AFL-CIO is blasting Dooley’s nomination of former GOP gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence to fill out the term of former Police Board Chairman Gregory Sansone. Sansone resigned this week, citing concerns about the county’s plans to change conflict of interest rules on subcontracts.
“I don’t know what Charlie Dooley’s thinking,” said Labor Council President Bob Soutier. “You know, he has been endorsed by my labor council, and I would say that that endorsement would be very much up in the air based on this appointment.”
Soutier says Spence’s past strong support for so-called “right to work” legislation would weaken labor unions in Missouri. He’s calling on the St. Louis County Council to block Spence’s nomination.
Dooley issued a statement in response: “I have a strong track record of supporting St. Louis Labor and opposing Right to Work, and nothing about that has changed. As for Mr. Spence, I am perfectly comfortable in his ability to be a competent and capable member of the Board of Police Commissioners, or I wouldn’t have offered up his nomination.”
Spence tells KMOX his past support for right to work won’t interfere with his ability to serve on the police board.
“This is an apolitical board,” Spence said, “I don’t think my view on one particular issue should come into something that is a volunteer board.”
As for whether Spence was appointed by those who might want him to help vote Police Chief Tim Fitch out, Spence says he has no agenda to do so.
“There was no mention of getting rid of Fitch,” Spence said. “That was never mentioned.”
Fitch made an end run around the County Executive when he met with the FBI and called for an investigation into a $3.75 million subcontract awarded to a company co-owned by Sansone to do work on the new police crime lab. Since then, the feds have served the county with a subpoena seeking wide-ranging documents dealing with the crime lab project and with Sansone. The subpoena also seeks correspondence within county government regarding Fitch
A federal grand jury is scheduled to take up the case September 4.
Dooley also nominated Democrat Freddy Clark, the pastor of the Shalom Church, to fill out the term of former Police Board member Floyd Warmann who quit earlier this month, citing a possible business conflict of interest. So far, there have been no concerns voiced on Clark’s nomination.