Pawhuska Recall Election Could Leave City Without Council

Tuesday, October 8th 2019, 9:23 am
By: Tess Maune

The City of Pawhuska is holding a special election Tuesday that could leave the city with no mayor and only one city councilor.               

A group of people in Pawhuska organized a petition and submitted 130 signatures for the recall election.

The Pawhuska Recall Committee says it wants a clean sweep of the city council after the abrupt firing of Pawhuska's police chief over the summer.               

Mayor Roger Taylor says the former city manager and former assistant city manager fired the police chief without telling the mayor and the council. The city council quickly reinstated the police chief and has since hired a new city manager.

Steve Holcombe, a local attorney, helped lead the petition. He served one term as a city councilor, but lost his bid for re-election. The woman who won that seat isn’t eligible for the recall, but the other three councilors and mayor are--meaning those four could be voted out of office.

Holcombe says he's not interested in running again, but still wants what's best for the town. He says with millions of dollars coming in from the Pioneer Woman's businesses each year, the city needs to have better plans for that revenue.

“I want to see us have a vision; and I want to see us plan for the future, and we're not doing that right now,” he said. “We're operating as if The Merc hasn't happened and still asserting, I would say, lack of leadership skills to the situation and we're missing out on great opportunities.”

Mayor Taylor says they council is making plans and does have a vision.

“We're getting bids for a new water reservoir, we're getting bids to fix the dam out here on Lake Pawhuska; we've got plans to rebuild part of downtown, do a new street scape type thing,” Taylor said. “The people that are on this council are all hard-working individuals, most of them have been here, if not grown up here, for a long time and we're all trying to do the best for Pawhuska.”

Holcombe says only about 17 percent of Pawhuska's registered voters voted during the last election, so his biggest push is to get more people out to vote.

If the council and mayor are voted out, the city manager would run the city until the town held another election.

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