CLAYTON, MO (KMOX) – With two criminal investigations underway into St. Louis County government, the county prosecutor is urging County Executive Charlie Dooley not to seek re-election.
Prosecutor Bob McCulloch says he met recently with fellow Democrat Dooley, urging him to drop out of the race.
“I told Charlie that I think things are so bad, that the reputation of county government has been so damaged,” McCulloch said.
McCulloch went on to list a series of scandals under Dooley’s leadership he argues have caused the public to lose faith in county government:
**The FBI investigating alleged wrongdoing with a $3.7 million police board subcontract.
**The St. Louis County Police investigation of $3.4 million in health department contracts that may have been fraudulently awarded by a health department official who recently committed suicide.
**Dooley’s administration hiring a tax collector who had not paid her own taxes.
**Dooley’s administration appointing a county official to deal with HUD who had a past conviction for stealing HUD funds.
Dooley responded to McCulloch by saying he still intends to run for re-election.
“If I get blamed for half the stuff that goes wrong with this county, why don’t I get credit for the things that do go right?” Dooley asked.
The county executive then listed a series of accomplishments he says critics are overlooking:
**His oversight of highway improvements for Interstate 64 and 141.
**His lobbying voters to pass tax levies to fight crime and improve MetroLink.
**His work to help merge the St. Louis city and county development departments.
**His support of the North Park business district, home of Express Scripts and Vatterott College.
McCulloch says Dooley is failing to take responsibility for the bad things that have happened under his watch.
“There’s just no responsibility of what’s going on,” McCulloch said, “no action taken to correct it.”
Dooley responds that he has taken action to reform county government when problems arise.
“Charlie Dooley has fired people for things that have taken place,” Dooley said, “But at the same token, though, honest people make honest mistakes.”
McCulloch’s renouncing of Dooley comes after organized labor withdrew its support last month. The Greater St. Louis Labor Council AFL-CIO also urged Dooley not to seek re-election. And Terry Nelson of the Carpenter’s Union said the FBI investigation had “tarnished Dooley’s credibility beyond repair.”
Dooley has stressed that he himself is not the target of any investigation. He still has support from city mayor Francis Slay.
Meanwhile, the FBI investigation of the county police board continues with no word on any possible indictments and county police continue a separate probe into allegations of fraudulent contracts awarded at the county health department by Ed Mueth, a top executive there who took his own life last month.