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St. Louis County council members call for investigation into Sam Page's side job

Council members Mark Harder and Tim Fitch ask county attorney to investigate whether Page's work as a doctor is a charter violation
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Two St. Louis County Councilmen have asked county attorneys to investigate whether County Executive Dr. Sam Page’s side job as an anesthesiologist is a charter violation and whether any CARES Act funding went to Mercy Hospital.

The county charter states that the county executive, “Shall devote his entire time to the duties of his office.”

5 On Your Side reported Oct. 21 Page was still working at Mercy Hospital. In a statement, Page’s spokesman Doug Moore wrote, Page works “the occasional shift to maintain his medical license and credentialing so that he can go on a mission trip once a year,” and “sometimes a four-hour shift in the evenings less than once a week.”

Seeing patients is not required to maintain a medical license, according to the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts.

In their letter to St. Louis County Counselor Beth Orwick, Councilmen Mark Harder and Tim Fitch wrote: “We therefore request the County Counselor’s office to open an investigation into the legitimacy of the claims made by the media and whether Dr. Page’s continued employment by Mercy Hospital, for any amount of time, is a possible violation of the County Charter. The aforementioned investigation should also include examination of any disbursement of CARES Act money or County contract spending that was uniquely and exclusively given to any organization affiliated with Mercy Hospital system or its affiliates since April of 2019 by the authority of the County Executive or his department.”

In a statement, Moore wrote: "We are not surprised that the day before the election the leaders of an effort to abolish public health orders including a mask mandate would express concern about a doctor being a doctor during his private time."

Fitch and Harder, both Republicans, are often at odds with Page, a Democrat.

They tried passing legislation that would put a check on Page's power during the pandemic by requiring a majority council approval of emergency decisions after the first 15 days. 

RELATED: St. Louis County executive vetoes bills that would strip his power during pandemic

Page pushed back saying Fitch, Harder as well as Ernie Trakas and Councilwoman Rita Days were trying to limit his power because they don't agree with mask mandates and vetoed the bill.

Fitch has since asked county attorneys if the council had the power to draft require mask mandates, saying his legislation is not about eliminating mask mandates, rather putting a check on Page's power.

Things haven't always been as contentious between the council members and Page.

Fitch and Harder noted they voted for Page to become the interim county executive after Steve Stenger was federally indicted in a pay-to-play scheme.

Harder told 5 On Your Side that Page led him to believe he was putting his medical career on hold to become the county executive.

He noted the point in his letter to Orwick.

“At the time of his selection as interim County Executive, Dr. Page assured council members that he would put his position as a physician at Mercy Hospital on hold until he was to leave office,” Harder wrote.

In a statement, Page wrote: “Yes I am on leave from my practice. I was a full-time anesthesiologist. I am no longer. In order to maintain my license, I work as an anesthesiologist in my free time occasionally on weekends.”

Page makes $140,000 a year as the county executive.

Council members make $20,000.

RELATED: Byers' Beat: Effort underway to investigate St. Louis County Executive Sam Page's alleged charter violation

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