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County Council Votes on Ethics Changes

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An estimated 300 people packed the St. Louis County Government Center on November 16th, 2011, giving their opinions about the county's budget proposal. (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

An estimated 300 people packed the St. Louis County Government Center on November 16th, 2011, giving their opinions about the county’s budget proposal. (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

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CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) - Changes are likely coming in St. Louis County, resulting from an investigation into conflicts of interest in the county police board.

Weeks ago, County Executive Charlie Dooley proposed legislation adding a conflict of interest clause to the county charter’s ethics provision. He says it would clarify any gray area that results in an investigation like the one happening now.

But the St. Louis County Council struck that legislation down Tuesday night, saying it was redundant because the charter already has such a provision.

The council instead moved forward with a measure that would require background and credit checks on St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners appointees, a move that Dooley said isn’t helpful.

“What we were trying to do is strengthen what we already have on the books to make it crystal clear what we’re looking for, according to the county councilor, and they did just the opposite with the qualifications of the police commission so, again, I think they missed the mark,” Dooley said.

The vote on Tuesday gave second-round approval to the background check legislation. Dooley said he would not veto the measure if passed by the full council.

“They misunderstood what the purpose was. The purpose was to strengthen the bill that we already have in existence, not the qualifications,” he added. “I think they got it backwards but that’s their prerogative.”

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