St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones has appointed Nancy Cross, former vice president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, as director of operations.
Cross, who served as vice president of Local 1 for 20 years before retiring last year, led one of the region’s largest unions, representing janitors, security officers, higher education faculty, school custodians, food service workers and others.
Her appointment fills one of the most important positions in Jones’ new administration, and is in keeping with her campaign pledge to ensure Labor and working people will have a seat at the table when decisions are being made regarding city services and developments.
As director of operations Cross has responsibility for departments including the Board of Public Service, Public Safety, Streets, Refuse, Parks/Recreation/Forestry, Fire, Building, Water and the Airport.
“I have worked with Labor for 30 years,” Cross said. “I loved working in the Labor Movement. I loved my job 95 percent of the time, but at this point in my life I am looking to apply the skills that I have in a different way.
“It’s an asset to have somebody in the mayor’s office directly who has been a part of Labor and understands its issues and concerns,” Cross said. “But this is a mayor who already thinks about Labor as she’s making plans. This is an addition, rather than a situation where I’m the only one thinking about Labor issues.”
Jones announced Cross’ appointment last week, also naming former state Rep. Amber Simms as city register and appointing Alisha Sonnier, an unsuccessful candidate for the city School Board in the April 6 election, to a new vacancy on the board.
“I am thrilled to appoint such dynamic, hard-working women into City government,” Jones said in a statement. “We all have a common goal: to make the City of St. Louis a better place to live, work, and educate our children, and I look forward to working with each of them in pursuit of that goal.”
Cross joins Jones’ inner circle of advisers, which includes chief of staff Jared Boyd and Nahuel Fefer, director of policy and development. Boyd was Jones’ chief of staff in the treasurer’s office and Fefer is a former aide to former Mayor Francis Slay and a Justice Catalyst Fellow with ArchCity Defenders, a legal advocacy organization focused on criminal justice reform.