Dooley nominates pair of familiar faces to county police board

Baer, Carr ‘excellent choices’ for police board, county executive says

By Gloria Lloyd

After a series of scandals and derailed nominations for the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners, County Executive Charlie Dooley has bet on some familiar faces for the County Council to consider.

Dooley nominated Republican Robert Baer, of Sunset Hills, and independent T.R. Carr, the former mayor of Hazelwood and a current professor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, for two of the board’s three open spots.

If the council approves Dooley’s new nominees, the five-seat board will have a quorum and can meet for the first time in months.

Three police board members, including Chairman Gregory Sansone and Vice Chairman Floyd Warmann, have resigned since the FBI began looking into millions of dollars in subcontracts that a county contractor awarded to a company partly owned by Sansone for work on the new county police lab.

In submitting their resignations, Sansone cited the investigation, Warmann cited an unspecified conflict of interest and Ray Wagner cited personal and professional commitments.

Over the past decade, former United Van Lines chief executive Baer has also served as the chief executive of Metro and chaired numerous public boards, including the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, or MSD, and the St. Louis City Police Board.

“They’re good people in the community, good citizens. They want to give back to the community, and they’re excellent choices,” Dooley told the Call.

Baer’s stint as head of the MSD Board of Trustees is what led longtime MSD activist Tom Sullivan to tell the County Council last week that he opposes Baer’s nomination. While at MSD, Sullivan said, Baer directed no-bid consulting contracts to his associates.

“It would be difficult to imagine a worse choice,” he said. “Bob Baer has long been one of this area’s leading fixers. He can make things happen no matter how crooked, dishonest or underhanded. He even helped bring along a new generation of fixers.”

Sullivan raised Baer’s association with Dooley’s longtime campaign manager John Temporiti: They worked together at UniGroup.

Dooley, however, denied that Temporiti had any influence over his nominations.

“I know Mr. Baer personally. He’s a friend of mine,” he said. “I know Mr. T.R. Carr personally. They are both very good friends of mine, good people in the community (who) gave back to the community, and they will continue to give back to the community. I asked them to step forward, and they said they’d do it.”

A previous nominee to the board, former Republican governor candidate Dave Spence, withdrew due to security concerns over new requirements that nominees meet the same stringent background requirements as police officers, including background and credit checks — requirements that Dooley noted at the time was making it difficult for him to recruit candidates.

Both Baer and Carr passed both those requirements, and he expects them to be confirmed with no problems, Dooley added.