State legislators on receiving end of county officials’ arrogance

By MIKE ANTHONY

Never was the arrogance of St. Louis County officials more apparent than at last week’s public hearing called by state legislators to discuss the county’s trash-district plan.

Roughly 300 people packed into the gymnasium at Bayless High School for the public hearing and saw firsthand county officials’ contempt for the residents they supposedly serve.

County Executive Charlie Dooley was nowhere to be seen, but plenty of his flunkies were on hand. Perhaps the most notable performances of the evening were given by Chief Operating Officer Garry “You could go to the train” Earls and County Counselor Pat “I care about south county” Redington.

At issue was whether a state statute requires St. Louis County to issue a two-year notice to waste haulers be-fore establishing trash districts in unincorporated areas.

State legislators contend that notification statute requires the county to issue a two-year notice by certified mail to waste haulers before establishing trash districts in unincorporated areas. But county officials counter that the notification requirement does not apply to St. Louis County because it is a charter county.

Given their attitudes, it was clear that the county officials present last week resented what state legislators were trying to do — actually represent the people they were elected to serve. But it’s not surprising that such a concept would be lost on the chief operating officer and the county counselor — no one elected them to anything as they serve at Mr. Dooley’s pleasure. Given their behavior, we can only conclude that Mr. Dooley not only condones, but actually encourages the disrespect Mr. Earls and Ms. Redington displayed to state legislators last week.

And if county officials have such little respect for elected representatives, it’s no wonder they have such contempt for county residents.

On the other hand, the only member of the County Council present at the hearing was 6th District Councilman John Campisi, R-south county. Mr. Campisi has been a staunch opponent of the trash-district plan and vowed last week to continue to oppose it.

While many of the goals county officials claim they want to attain with the trash-district program are desirable and even admirable, the manner in which they have attempted to shove it down residents’ throats is appalling.

It’s ironic that state legislators have attempted to rein in the arrogance of county officials, only to experience it firsthand at last week’s public hearing.