“Call the Tune” by Mike Anthony
Seldom have we seen an elected official make as many monumentally bad decisions as County Council Chairman Sam Page has this year.
Just consider his lame defense of county Auditor Mark Tucker, who has yet to produce any audits despite being on the “job” since March 6.
Then we have Page’s grandstanding on the Proposition P raises promised to county police in which he cited concerns about the stability of the county retirement fund. Ironically, under Page’s “leadership,” the council dropped legislation proposed by County Executive Steve Stenger designed to bolster the pension fund.
We can only conclude that Page, a Democrat from Creve Coeur who represents the 2nd District, must be receiving some awfully bad advice from someone. But who that someone is was a mystery until last week when Page mistakenly sent text messages to county Parks and Recreation Department Director Gary Bess that were intended for Garry Earls.
One message stated, “I am going to offer an amendment/sub to set aside 15% of the prop p money until we know the pension impact. That’s probably all I can do. Otherwise, we are just making stenger look like a hero …”
Stenger had proposed setting aside 20 percent of the Prop P funds.
Earls served as chief operating officer under former County Executive Charlie Dooley.
Yeah, that Garry Earls, the architect of Dooley’s 2012 budget proposal that called for the closing of 23 county parks and not plowing streets in unincorporated areas when snow accumulations were 2 inches or less.
Thanks to the efforts of Stenger, a Democrat who then served as the 6th District councilman, those dire cuts did not come to pass.
Surely, some will recall Earls’ take when a county employee making $120,000 a year was found to be watching 15 videos per day on YouTube.com during working hours.
“I find YouTube like eating peanuts. Once you get started, you just can’t quit,” Earls told a local TV station.
Others may recall this gem from Earls when a proposed MetroLink extension would have taken light rail to Westport and Florissant — not to south county.
“You don’t have to have the train come to you. You could go to the train,” Earls said.
Like we said, Page has made some incredibly bad decisions this year, not the least of which is taking advice from Earls, whose track record — no pun intended — of “serving” St. Louis County residents is abysmal.