Muskogee Voters To Decide On Changing City Government


Tuesday, June 23rd 2020, 6:08 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero


MUSKOGEE COUNTY, Okla. -

This week, Muskogee voters have a big decision to vote on potential changes to the structure of their city government.

On June 30, Muskogee voters will see this question on their ballots: "Shall the City of Muskogee revoke the Charter under which it is now operating, and adopt and be governed under the statutory strong-mayor -- council form of government as provided by the laws of Oklahoma?​

Oklahoma law said cities can be run by a strong mayor or strong city manager form of government. ​ A vote of YES would revoke the Charter and thus adopt the Statutory Strong Mayor form of government operating under a mayor-council structure. A vote of NO would maintain the current City Charter of the City of Muskogee that operates under the council-city manager structure.

Attorney Rob Raasch is urging voters to vote "yes" to change the city's charter to have a strong-mayor. 

"For decades Muskogee is been stuck in the mud. Under the strong mayor, the mayor is accountable to the people the people of Muskogee not Oklahoma City,"​ Raasch said.

Attorney John Hammons said he is against the proposal.​ "The charter allows Muskogee to govern itself, by giving that up we allow the governor and the legislature to treat Muskogee the way the federal government treats Oklahoma - out of touch and unresponsive," Hammons explained. 

Both men have addressed voter questions, including "would the proposition change their current ward voting to at-large voting?"​

Raasch said he hasn’t "heard anyone on the vote 'yes' say that they would remove award voting."​ Raasch also said if the city votes "yes", a new charter with changes from votes would be drafted in a few months. 

Hammons said he thinks a new charter would take much longer to vote on and believes the change is unnecessary. "Without a city charter, people from Weatherford or Diamond or Tulsa or Tahlequah get to vote on what happens in Muskogee. With a city charter, Muskogee gets to govern itself."

Voters also asked "will the police department be defunded if voters vote 'yes'?" Raasch said that is a lie. Hammons said defunding the police could be a possibility if voters vote for a strong mayor and let politics run the city.

On the City of Muskogee's Official website, the city provides resources to better understand the proposition. You can find those links here: 

For info on the CITY CHARTER & COUNCIL-MANAGER form of government.

For info on STATUTORY STRONG MAYOR-COUNCIL form of government.

For info on OTHER THINGS TO KNOW.