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County Executive Stenger responds to councilman: ‘I am not resigning’

“Very little positive is occurring in your county government because of this chaos. Something must give and it must be now,” Councilman Tim Fitch wrote.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said he will not step down, despite a request from county councilman Tim Fitch.

"I am not resigning, the voters of St. Louis County elected me to do a job and I will continue to work on their behalf," Stenger wrote in a response to Fitch's letter Monday morning.

Fitch, who represents District 3 and was the St. Louis County police chief for five years, titled his letter ‘It’s time to move St. Louis County forward’ and said the only way to do so is without Stenger. He cited chaos in the county government and the "looming" federal investigation.

“Over the past three months, I have had a front row seat and have witnessed near paralysis in county government,” Fitch wrote. “It is worse than I ever experience in my prior 31 years of service to the people of St. Louis County. Our professional employees and county citizens deserve much better.”

RELATED: Stenger hires preeminent criminal defense attorney Scott Rosenblum

Last month, a federal grand jury issued a subpoena to St. Louis County seeking records involving Stenger. This followed an initial investigation launched by the St. Louis County Council several months prior.

The council raised questions about Stenger’s alleged involvement in offering high-dollar deals to the owners of both properties. Both of the property owners also contributed thousands to Stenger’s campaign.

READ MORE: St. Louis County served subpoena in federal investigation of County Executive Steve Stenger, councilman says

In his note to the public Monday, Fitch said some councilmembers spend a “great deal of time trying to figure out how to work against the County Executive and this type of conduct appears to be reciprocal.”

Fitch stated the investigation is “looming” over the county government and will likely take a while. Still, he said St. Louis County needs to take some kind of action to move on.

“Very little positive is occurring in your county government because of this chaos. Something must give and it must be now,” Fitch wrote. “I truly believe the only way to move this county forward is for the County Executive to step down. It might not be in the County Executive’s best interest to resign, but it is the right thing to do for the people of this county. Only then can we move forward to do the important work we were elected to do.”

In his response, Stenger took issue with Fitch's assertion that the county government is in "chaos."

"County government continues to function efficientyly and our administration and employees are working to improve the lives of our residents," he wrote.

Here is councilman Tim Fitch's full statement: 

Over the past three months, I have had a from row seat and have witnessed near paralysis in county government. It is worse than I ever experienced in my prior 31 years of service to the people of St. Louis County. Our professional employees and county citizens deserve much better.

Each branch of government blames the other. Some on the County Council spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to work against the County Executive and this type of conduct appears to be reciprocal. Some would say this is an appropriate balance and separation of governmental powers. It goes beyond that. There have been costly charter amendments submitted to the voters and legal battles between the branches of county government. You, the taxpayer, are footing the bill for all of this.

All the while, county government has serious budget concerns. Our employees have been neglected, many of our county roads are in horrible condition, neighborhoods are aging, crime is on the rise and people are dying in the county jail. A shadowy group called ‘Better Together’ are probably thrilled to see government paralysis, as it plays right into their agenda.

Now, we have a federal investigation looming over county government (again). My experience tells me this investigation will be prolonged. Even without federal subpoenas and investigations, very little positive is occurring in your county government became of this chaos. Something must give and it must he now.

I truly believe the only way to move this county forward is for the County Executive to step down. It might not be in the County Executive's best interest to resign, but It is the right thing to do for the people of this county. Only then can we move forward to do the important work we were elected to do.

St. Louis County doesn't have the luxury of waiting until the 2022 election or the end of a federal investigation to address the dysfunction and paralysis we are experiencing. We cannot lose sight of our purpose - the welfare of the people of St. Louis County. Positive action must take place now.

Here is county executive Steve Stenger's full statement:

I am not resigning. The voters of St. Louis County elected me to do a job and I will continue to work on their behalf.

The assertion that County government is in 'chaos' is untrue. County government continues to function efficiently and our administration and employees are working to improve the lives of our residents.

We are advancing public safety, spurring economic development and promoting an equity agenda designed to drive institutional changes that will enhance the quality of life for all residents.

We intend to see these initiatives through to successful conclusions and invite the County Council to work with us.

We are moving St. Louis County forward.