ST. LOUIS — Both St. Louis City and County have missed a key deadline in appointing members to the Board of Freeholders.
It's now unclear if missing that deadline could jeopardize the process.
What's also unclear for many people is what the Board of Freeholders even is. So here's a quick explainer of what it is, what it might do and what comes next in the process.
What is the Board of Freeholders?
The Board of Freeholders has a stoic sounding name, but could end up making major decisions that impact your life.
According to the Missouri Constitution, Freeholders would have the ability to propose plans that cover five different areas. They could suggest:
- Merging St. Louis City and County into one Metro City.
- Putting St. Louis City back into St. Louis County.
- Moving the city limits of St. Louis.
- Combining government services.
- Any other plan related to how the city and county operate.
There have only been two successful meetings of a Board of Freeholders.
The first happened in 1876, and gave us what was called "The Great Divorce" — when the city and county split to begin with.
The second successful meeting was in the 1950s, when they created MSD, a consolidated sewer district.
So who's on the Board of Freeholders?
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page each get to make nine appointments to the board that are then approved by the Board of Aldermen or St. Louis County Council.
Of those nine, only five can be from the same political party.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson gets one appointment, who must live somewhere in Missouri that isn't the city or county.
Once the board is assembled, they have a year to debate and come up with a plan.
That plan would then be voted on by both city and county voters in a special election.
Why the delay?
St. Louis hasn't taken a full vote on the nine nominees. Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed canceled a special session on the Board of Freeholders nominees Thursday, because it still hasn't passed through the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.Members of that committee expressed concerns about the people selected by Mayor Krewson.
A spokesperson for Mayor Krewson tells 5 On Your Side she wants the board to approve the ones they like, and they will replace the names that aren't approved.
Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed's spokesperson says the process cannot move forward until the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee passes the measure, which appears unlikely to happen until the Mayor gives a new list of nominees.
Both offices told 5 On Your Side they hadn't spoken to the other office Thursday, to resolve this impasse.
In the County, they approved all but one name on County Executive Sam Page's list. The remaining name still hadn't testified to the council. Once she does, the council will vote on that individual.
In the Missouri Constitution, it stipulates the first meeting of the Freeholders should take place two Mondays after the 30-day deadline to approve the board members. That should be November 4th.
It's unclear, since both entities missed their deadlines, if that jeopardizes this process or not.