Tim Fitch wants to cancel Steve Stenger's pension

Councilman Fitch says taxpayers don't want to support Stenger's retirement.

Kevin Killeen
May 15, 2019 - 5:52 pm

Sam Masterson/KMOX

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ST. LOUIS--(KMOX)--Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger would lose his county pension, under a plan before the county council.

The sponsor, Councilman Tim Fitch, says people don't like the idea of Stenger getting out of prison some day and getting mailbox money from county taxpayers.

"It doesn't seem right to me as a taxpayer, and probably most taxpayers in the county would agree, that you could be committing felonies while serving in office, and then turn around and be paid the rest of your life," Fitch said.

Stenger could be eligible to receive a county pension when he turns 60, and could receive more than $1,500 a month, Fitch estimated.

Fitch has filed a lawsuit to get back his own county police pension, which the Stenger Administration cut off when he became a council member.

"I served 31 years honorably and they cut my pension off, but a guy could be convicted of a felony and collect a pension for the rest of his life," Fitch said.

Fitch says his proposal to cut off Stenger's pension is not in response to his own troubles. He says he proposed a similar pension cut off for felons years ago, when a county health department worker was accused of bilking taxpayers through a sham billing scheme.  Ed Mueth later took his own life and the proposal faded.

Now, Fitch says it's time to pass an ordinance saying no county official convicted of a felony can receive a pension.  The proposal could have an impact not only on Stenger, but on other county employees caught up in the pay-to-play scandal.

Fitch wants the council to pass the bill before Stenger's scheduled sentencing August 9.

Even if they make the deadline, Fitch admits it's possible Stenger could later sue and say the law lacks the power to punish him retroactively for a crime that took place before the law took effect.

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