Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Partisan Dispute Freezes Doctor's, Workers' Pay

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Partisan Dispute Freezes Doctor's, Workers' Pay

Article excerpt

St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone says the pathologist who conducted an autopsy last week on stabbing victim Stefanie Morey, 13, of Marissa will have to wait for payment.

County Sheriff Mearl J. Justus says his employees will have to wait for at least part of the 3 1/2-percent raise they won in recent union negotiations.

Stone and Justus blame the 10 Republicans on the St. Clair County Board who for the second month in a row have blocked transfers from the county's contingency fund requested by them and other Democratic department heads.

The board has 19 Democrats, but fund transfers require a two-thirds vote.

Republican board members say they are putting the brakes on a longstanding Democratic habit of dipping into the contingency fund too often and too soon.

"The money that they want to transfer is already in most of these budgets," said Robert Roylance, R-Swansea. "It really doesn't have to be done at this time."

Roylance acknowledged that the Republicans, who have long felt ignored by the county's Democratic majority, are making a political point too. "The Republican party is definitely alive and well in St. Clair County," he said. "We want to be heard."

Edward R. Anderson, R-Stookey Township, agreed. "They want us to follow like blind sheep," he complained. "They've been running this county for 62 years."

Anderson said he believed that the contingency fund requests made by Stone, Justus and other Democratic office holders were all for legitimate expenses. "But the administration won't separate things and they won't explain things," he said.

Before a department is given contingency fund money, "Board members ought to see what's left in every line item," he said. "The Democrats politicize this, not us. All they've got to do is show us."

"It would be nice if they would come in and talk to me about it," retorted County Board Chairman John Baricevic. …

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