Ending the Corruption Tax


The citizens of St. Louis County have borne witness to unethical and ineffective government at every level. It’s time to initiate reforms for greater ethics and more open government and end the “corruption tax” that is tainting St. Louis County government under the current administration. Therefore, I make the following pledge:

“I pledge to transform the St. Louis County government, which is clearly overrun with insider deals, and build an administration that is ethical, transparent and committed to professionalism, fairness and equality.”

Many of us have been disappointed that the current County Executive has failed to deliver on his campaign promises to deliver a high-quality County government. Instead, it appears that he is micro-managing the contract awarding processes and influencing the outcome to reward contributors and friends, and punish foes. His administration has produced a shameful record of implementing County government transactions that harm County taxpayers, but benefit his wealthy contributors.

Because of these unethical actions, St. Louis County has incurred obligations and expenses far in excess of the fair value of leases and other contracts. (See this Post-Dispatch story: County office complex in St. Ann costs taxpayers, but fills Stenger’s campaign coffers.) And taxpayers will be stuck with the tab for these deals for many years. This amounts to a “Corruption Tax” — County tax dollars going to the incumbents’ donors and cronies, and County tax payers burdened with obligations and expenses into the future.

As a former CEO of one of this community’s fastest growing businesses, I recognize when executives put their own well-being ahead of those they serve, and this is a textbook case of that sort of self interest. I don’t believe the people of St. Louis County should, or will, put up with this behavior any longer.

If we’re going to move St. Louis ahead, we must eliminate these shameful pay-to- play corruption practices and replace them with ethical, efficient and innovative government.

Therefore, to restore ethics and confidence in St. Louis County government, as County Executive, I will be committed to an ethics plan founded on common sense and comprised of six central provisions, two that focus on campaign fundraising and four that deal will sound governance policies that are intended to restore ethical government to the office of St. Louis County Executive.”



Campaign Fundraising Reforms

1. No campaign contributions will be accepted from County contractors. If elected County Executive, I won’t take a penny in campaign contributions from anyone who has a contract to do business with St. Louis County.

2. No campaign contributions will be accepted from ANY SOURCE before 2022. Further, I will decline all campaign contributions during the three years after my election and only raise funds during a future election year, and even then, only from those not having contracts within St. Louis County.

Government Practices Reforms

3. Procurement with integrity. As County Executive, I will establish an effective and efficient County procurement process which is built on objective standards and which is not administered for the benefit of insiders.

4. Audit cooperation. My administration will fully support and cooperate with thorough, timely and professional audits of all County operations.

5. Transparency. All sunshine laws will be observed faithfully and my administration will deliver a transparent government operation that conducts the people’s business openly.

6. Council cooperation and employee engagement. I promise to work to build an open and collaborative relationship with the County Council and County employees. As such, the County Council will be properly informed, prepared, staffed, and empowered to perform its crucial functions in a professional and orderly manner. County employees can expect me to partner with them in delivering world-class public service to the residents of St. Louis County.

I look forward to focusing on public policy associated with the significant needs of our community in the areas of education, economic development, social policy and the myriad of other challenges that have prevented our community from meeting its potential.

"Together we will raise the standard so that all St. Louis Countians can once again be proud of the public servants in whom they have placed their sacred trust," Mark Mantovani.