Board of Electors will pass on county reorganization

Board of Electors will pass on county reorganization

By Bill Milligan

Originally published July 26, 1990 (with a sidebar listing the Board of Freeholders appointees)

County Executive H.C. Milford last week asked appointees to a new Board of Electors not to propose another reorganization of St. Louis County.

Missouri Supreme Court officials last month ordered Milford to appoint electors to replace a Board of Freeholders that in 1998 proposed sweeping changes in municipal boundaries within St. Louis County.

But the U.S. Supreme Court in June 1989 ruled unconstitutional a requirement that freeholders be property owners. Citizens were never able to vote on the reorganization proposal.

“I hope the new Board of Electors will stay away from county reorganization,” said Milford. “It is such a deeply divisive issue.”

Milford is the Republican candidate for St. Louis County Executive, a role he assumed in late 1989 when former executive Gene McNary became head of the U.S. Department of Naturalization and Immigration. He is opposed by St. Louis County Prosecutor Buzz Westfall.

After the court invalidated the freeholder plan, Missouri legislators passed legislation enabling a Boundary Commission to oversee annexations and incorporations within St. Louis County. Commission members are uncertain what effect the Electors might have on their work.

“It’s kind of discouraging,” said Rich Eichhorst, commissioner. “This is all so new, nobody really knows what effect it might have. There will probably be more lawsuits.”

Electors will examine the ways St. Louis City and St. Louis County can work together to solve mutual problems.

Milford said attorneys had forced the Electors issue.

“I was willing to put the thing on the back burner, but the attorneys wanted to collect their fee,” Milford said. “The only way they could do that was to force Judge (Arthur) Litz to make a new ruling.

“There are 600,000 lawyers out there,” Milford said. “They’re all looking for work.”