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St. Louis Public Radio: Voters to consider whistleblower protections for St. Louis county workers

The St. Louis County Council is asking voters to authorize added whistleblower protections for the county’s more than 4,000 employees.

Council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to place the measure on the August ballot. If approved, anyone working for the county in any capacity could not face discipline if they speak up publicly about perceived lawbreaking, mismanagement or discrimination. Those protections would not apply if an employee is found to be lying.

The vote represented 14 months of work on the issue and two vetoes by County Executive Sam Page. Bills placing issues on the ballot cannot be vetoed.

“We will not delay this any longer,” Chair Rita Days, D-1st District, said Tuesday before the vote. “We have to put this on the ballot so the people of St. Louis County will make that decision. We don’t have time to wait. We have upwards of 10 to 15 lawsuits because whistleblower protection is not in place as it should be.”

Though Councilwoman Lisa Clancy, D-5th District, agreed to put the protections before voters, she said she was worried about a lack of specifics when it comes to the county police department.