In March 2016, the City of St. Louis fired Robert Kraiberg from his position as excise commissioner. Kraiberg was fired without being provided a statement of cause, as required by the civil service provisions of the city charter. Kraiberg’s firing was upheld by the Civil Service Commission (CSC). The CSC decision was reversed on October 2, 2017 in a judgment issued by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Robert Dierker, who ordered that Kraiberg be reinstated, with back pay and benefits.
According to David Bohm, attorney for Kraiberg, “This is a vindication of Mr. Kraiberg, with Judge Dierker finding that the city wrongfully failed to follow the civil service provisions of the charter and civil service rules when it fired Mr. Kraiberg without cause. This is a victory not only for Mr. Kraiberg, but also for civil service protections and the rule of law, generally.”
Judge Dierker further found that it was improper for political appointees of the former administration to attempt to influence the “quasi-judicial” decisions of the excise commissioner regarding license applications in “back room” meetings.
Finally, the judge found that it was an improper conflict of interest for the city counselor to be present in closed meetings of the CSC at which Kraiberg’s appeal was decided (and at which Kraiberg and his attorney were not allowed to be present), given that the city counselor’s office had represented the director of public safety at the hearing before the commission’s hearing officer.
Bohm added, “It is hoped that the city will turn a new page, reinstate Mr. Kraiberg, and scrupulously comply with civil service requirements in the future, rather than attempting an end run around these provisions, as did the previous city administration.”