Over the spring and coming summer months, I plan to continue the conversations with City voters that began in the successful campaign for passage of Proposition E. And I will ask other city officials to join the discussion and to work with me on a systematic review of government - what we do, why we do it, and how much it costs.And his Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford:
And the key here is the voters. The voters in the City and the County are going to have a say in how much they want us doing business together and I think they've got to be part of the conversation and be brought in to the conversation.Yet, KMOX reports that meetings have been taking place behind closed doors, and that not even Aldermanic President Lewis Reed knew about them:
A top St. official says there needs to be some legal ‘sunlight’ cast on the continuing merger talks between St. Louis City and County, which have been taking place out of public view.Reed requested that he and the comptroller be brought into the conversations "as a bare minimum:"
Aldermanic President Lewis Reed says he was shocked to learn in earlier news reports that city and county officials have been meeting to talk about dovetailing economic development, construction codes and healthcare. “I am not in the loop at all on any of this,” Reed said. “I found out in the news paper like everyone else.”
Reed says the Mayor’s office alone should not be at the table in the merger talks. He wants his office and the comptroller in on any future negotiations. “At minimum today, or as soon as possible, the Board of Estimate and Apportionment should get an update on what is going on,” Reed said. “And that would be the bare minimum.”Rainford responded to the story on Twitter as follows:
But this seems to miss the point. I don't think peopler were criticizing the idea of meeting behind closed doors to plan a merger because what they really wanted was for the officials to meet behind closed doors and declare that there wouldn't be a merger. The point is that this should be a transparent and open process where citizens are given an opportunity to help shape the discussions rather than a group of suits meeting behind closed doors before bringing "The Answers" out on stone tablets to be voted on.