St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson has named her nine appointments to the Board of Freeholders, who will join nine board members selected by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and one member selected by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson.
Once in place, the new Board of Freeholders will have one year to come up with a plan to alter the city and county governmental structure. This could include the city re-entering the county as a municipality, among many other options.
The nine members representing St. Louis City are:
- Abdul-Kaba Abdullah, who serves as executive director of Park Central Development.
- Bridget Flood, executive director of the Incarnate Word Foundation.
- LaShana Lewis, a consultant on diversity issues.
- Taunia Allen Mason, 28th ward committee woman.
- James Mathis, an attorney and a partner at Husch Blackwell.
- Rev. Earl Nance Jr., noted civic, community and faith leader.
- Eddie Roth, attorney and former St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial writer.
- Jerry Schlichter, attorney and senior partner at Schlichter Bogard & Denton;
- Dan Zdrodowski, attorney at Hais, Hais & Goldberger PC.
“I’m encouraged by the 130 individuals who expressed an interest in serving on the Board of Freeholders,” said Krewson.
Krewson was a supporter of a city-county merger plan promoted by the now-defunct group, Better Together. Page was adamantly opposed to Better Together’s plan.
The St. Louis County Municipal League began to advocate for a Board of Freeholders in January, when Better Together proposed a merger plan that included a November 2020 statewide vote to approve a constitutional amendment creating a new “metro city.”
Better Together’s proposal hit a wall when former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, a huge proponent for the merger, was indicted on federal corruption charges and received a prison sentence. Stenger was to serve as mayor of the “metro city.”
Municipal League Executive Director Pat Kelly said if the board of freeholders comes up with a plan, it will most likely be submitted to voters in an election in the second half of 2021.
“Better Together did not have an appropriate democratic plan because it would have been submitted to all the state’s voters for approval,” said Kelly. “All along we have believed that whatever plan there is for the city and the county, it should be submitted to city and county voters.”
St. Louis City and St. Louis County split up in 1876, a move that has been called the “Great Divorce.” All previous proposals to reunite them have failed.