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Acting health director Khan not approved by St. Louis County Council

During the council's Tuesday night meeting, his confirmation was denied by a 5-2 vote

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The St. Louis County Council voted not to approve acting health director Dr. Faisal Khan for the full-time role.

During the council's Tuesday night meeting, his confirmation was denied by a 5-2 vote. 

Democrats Lisa Clancy and Kelli Dunaway voted in favor of his confirmation. The five votes against his confirmation were cast by Republicans Tim Fitch, Mark Harder and Ernie Trakas and Democrats Shalonda Webb and Rita Heard Days.

Khan, who had led the department from 2010-2018, was named acting health director in February by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page. In recent months, he was embroiled in controversy after a heated county council meeting and the ensuing investigation into his actions.

In a July letter to Council Chairwoman Rita Heard Days, Khan said he was the target of "racist, xenophobic, and threatening behavior" during a council meeting days earlier while speaking in favor of a mask mandate. He also claimed that he was "shoulder-bumped and pushed" by people in the crowd. 

In the letter, Khan also said he "expressed his displeasure by using his middle finger" toward someone he said physically threatened him and called him racist slurs.

RELATED: St. Louis County health director says he responded to racist slurs, assault by flipping off person at council meeting

The fallout from that incident and the ensuing investigation has lasted months. The council voted last month to keep sealed the records surrounding that investigation.

RELATED: Investigation into St. Louis County health director's claims of physical altercation to remain closed

Last week, Khan was at the center of another controversy when an email he wrote sparked outrage.

“Please," he wrote, “ignore the lunatic fringe that exists in every society. They were there one hundred years ago and will likely be around 100 years in the future. They are irrelevant fools.”

RELATED: Acting St. Louis County health director's email decrying 'lunatic fringe' sparks outrage

Harder called on Page to fire Khan. Page said he has spoken to Khan about the email, but did not think it rose to the level of termination.

Page said Khan will continue to serve as the acting director for the time being.

RELATED: Page urges St. Louis County employees to be respectful after health director calls critics 'lunatic fringe'

During the council meeting, Days said the decision to vote against his confirmation was an easy one for her.

"When people show you who they are, believe them," she said during the meeting.

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