By TIM ROWDEN
St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White is among five people appointed by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page to the regional Economic Development Partnership board.
Page announced the five appointments June 28, beginning the process of reshaping governance of the regional agency that was embroiled in former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s pay-to-play corruption.
“I’m excited to represent working men and women in this partnership,” White said in a Facebook post following the announcement. “The St. Louis region is the economic hub of Missouri and we need to continue to grow and bring good paying, well-benefited jobs to the area.”
Including White, the new members of the 15-member board are:
- Pat White, president of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council.
- Jeanne Dee, a certified public account at Anders who specializes in not-for-profit and government audits.
- Will Ross, associate dean for diversity at Washington University School of Medicine and a former member of the Better Together city-county merger task force who became critical of the initiative’s leadership.
- Tracy Hart, president and CEO of Tarlton Corp.
- Dave Spence, president and CEO of Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging, and the 2012 GOP nominee for Missouri governor.
“Business leaders and civic leaders in our region very much want the Partnership to be successful, and we had quite a few people volunteer to help,” Page said. “There’s an enormous amount of goodwill in the community to move the Partnership forward. This is really important for our reputation as a region to make sure the Partnership is functioning efficiently.”
OPENINGS FOLLOWED DEPARTURE OF STENGER AIDES
The board openings followed the departure of three former Stenger aides from the board – Jeff Wagenerm, Shannon Weber and Bill Miller, Stenger’s former chief of staff.
The other two nominees are filling previous vacancies, including a seat that has been open since January, when Regional Business Council CEO Kathy Osborn left after the ouster of former Partnership CEO Sheila Sweeney.
Rodney Crim, the former head of the St. Louis Development Corp. prior to the 2013 formation of the city-county economic development agency, has stepped in as interim CEO. St. Louis County council members, County Executive Page and Partnership board members have so far expressed support for Crim’s efforts to reset operations and repair the embattled agency’s image.
Page said making sure the Partnership is well-run is a top priority and his staff will continue looking at the organization’s leadership structure. But he said the organization under Crim has “made some steps in the right direction and they should be recognized for that.”
CITY, COUNTY SHARE APPOINTMENTS TO THE BOARD
The county executive shares board appointments with the St. Louis mayor, though the city has only four slots on the board. Three board members come from the county’s economic development agencies, and John Maupin, the new Page-backed chair of the St. Louis County Port Authority, is already serving on the Partnership board.
Page’s appointments don’t include any members of his cabinet, a departure from past practice. Former County Executive Charlie Dooley, for instance, had top aide Mike Jones on the board. Mayor Lyda Krewson appointed her economic development adviser, Linda Martinez, to the board.
Board members should keep in mind the “vision and goals” of the mayor and county executive, Page said, but “at some point we have to trust the (Partnership) to make good decisions and make them independent of political influence.”
Several board members are serving on expired terms and Page said he’ll continue to review applications from people willing to serve on the board.