Dooley Demands Stenger's Apology
Stenger said he did not say anything insulting during a recent radio show interview. A budget for St. Louis County still must be passed by Dec. 31.
County Executive Charlie Dooley called for an apology from County Council Chairman Steve Stenger (D-District 6) about his comments on the Mark Reardon Show Wednesday.
“In trying to insult me, Mr. Stenger demeaned and insulted the people of St. Louis County—many of whom do not have a college degree,” Dooley said in a release Thursday.
Stenger was a guest on the show and discussed the 2012 recommended county budget and the special committee he formed to create alternative suggestions to the proposed closure of 23 St. Louis County Parks.
Reardon asked Stenger what background Dooley had specifically on budgets. This was after the two discussed Stenger’s 18-year history as a certified public accountant specializing in state and local taxes.
“I don’t think that there’s an educational background. I think Charlie graduated from high school. I don’t think he has any specialized training in accounting or anything like that,” Stenger said. The interview then moved on to comments made by Councilwoman Kathleen Burkett (D-District 2).
In his release, Dooley said he was secure and confident in his own ability.
“I have nine years experience preparing and implementing balanced budgets. St Louis County has a Triple A credit rating—the best you can possibly have,” he said.
Dooley maintains Stenger insulted individuals who do not have a college degree.
“None of my remarks were insensitive or insulting,” Stenger told Patch. “My father has a high school diploma. I don’t see anything wrong with having a high school diploma.”
“I was just answering a question that was posed to me,” Stenger said, adding the executive's education information was on the St. Louis County’s website.
“He (Charlie Dooley) is now grasping at straws trying to make a personal attack on me,” Stenger said. “If they’re going to zing me on something, they’re going to need to do better than that.”
Stenger said his problem with the county executive did not stem from his educational background.
“My problem that I have is not a problem with Charlie, it’s a problem with his budget. His chief operating officer (Garry Earls) is a degreed engineer. I disagree with his budget because it’s Charlie’s budget. It has nothing to do with education. It has everything to do with the fact that Charlie wants to close half the parks in St. Louis County, lay off 173 people, and he wants to eliminate snow plowing in my district,” Stenger said.
At Tuesday's special budget committee meeting, Dooley said in his opening comments that Stenger, as council chair, did not have enough knowledge of the budget to make recommendations for improvement.
Stenger and other councilmembers said they will not approve the county executive’s budget, which must be passed by Dec. 31.
Listen to the full interview on the CBS website.
Editor's Note: Steve Stenger is serving his first term representing the St. Louis County citizens of the 6th County Council District. He was elected to a four-year term in 2008. He also serves on the county's Public Improvements committee and Revenue and Personnel comittees.