Slay Threatened With Lawsuit Over Alleged Power Grab
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Mayor Francis Slay has been threatened with a lawsuit over his plan to expand the frontiers of his executive powers.
The threat is coming from Slay’s top political opponent: Board of Aldermen President and former mayoral candidate Lewis Reed.
Reed is responding to Slay’s plan to award some city contracts without the review of the city’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment. The three-person board – currently staffed by Slay, Reed, and Comptroller Darlene Green – has historically approved all city contracts.
“The day Mayor Francis Slay signs a contract and commits the city under a contract without going through the appropriate channels, I will file a lawsuit,” Reed tells KMOX News.
City Hall says the mayor’s office has authority under the city charter to decide who gets a contract for an expenditure which has already been approved, in dollar amount only, by the aldermen. Reed disagrees.
“This is not the mayor’s personal checkbook, this is not any elected official’s – mine, the comptroller’s – personal checkbook. This checkbook belongs to the people and they need to know what you’re spending the money on,” Reed added.
The rhetoric over executive powers stems from a recent debate over Paris-based Veolia Water’s $250,000 bid to do consulting work for the city’s Water Division. The bid was supported by City Hall but hotly contested by Reed and other opponents of the mayor on the Board of Aldermen. Veolia withdrew its bid on October 29.