ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo–The Robertson Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors will meet Tuesday for what could be the final time under its current membership, after it was ousted by voters in a recall election Nov. 8.
Joan Noel, Mike Conley and Becky Reinsmith were each individually recalled. Each of them also ran for their seats in the event the recall was successful, and lost. Jennifer Guyton defeated Noel, Steve Field defeated Conley and Maggie Sieve defeated Reinsmith.
The fire district, which serves portions of Hazelwood, Bridgeton and unincorporated St. Louis County, has been in a protracted legal fight with the city of Hazelwood since 2017, when the city canceled its contract, citing excessive costs and mismanagement by Robertson’s board. The district filed a breach of contract suit in 2018 which remains unresolved today while Hazelwood continues to make annual payments. The city has claimed that the agreement, which in 2021 still cost Hazelwood more than $4 million, is one reason why Chapter 9 bankruptcy could be “inevitable”, Mayor Matt Robinson told residents in an open letter in June in explaining why some city services have been suspended.
Guyton is President of Citizens to Save Hazelwood & Fire Services, a group that has railed against what it claims is corruption within the Robertson Fire Protection District.
The recall vote came after what the current board members claim was a fraudulent petition process. A St. Louis County judge threw out a lawsuit over those claims.
In a statement following the election, Citizens to Save Hazelwood and Fire Services said:
“Citizens proved we, the people, have the power to confront corruption and change the system.
For the voters who supported our effort, thank you.
For those who may be worried or disappointed by the outcome, just know that we represent ALL of the residents. We made a pledge that we would keep Robertson in place, and we will keep that promise. Thank you.”
The new members will be sworn in once election results are certified.