Tulsa's Republican mayoral candidates debated for the third time this week.
Current mayor, Dewey Bartlett, and Councilor G.T. Bynum started their morning off debating at KFAQ radio and then moved to downtown Tulsa for another debate held in a packed room at the Summit Club.
Tulsa's Republican candidates for mayor are staying busy this week, participating in three debates.
Recent campaign endorsements, like the one the Fraternal Order of Police gave to Bynum on Wednesday, remained a hot topic.
Bartlett said when Bynum accepted the endorsement he took away his ability to negotiate a contract with police.
"What we cannot do, in my opinion, is to give away our negotiating position before we start," he said.
Bynum defended the endorsement.
“I think if you are negotiating on something that is the single greatest annual operating cost for the City of Tulsa, which is what our police officers make in their pay and benefits, then the mayor should be at the table for that,” Bynum said. “The mayor shouldn't be delegating the single greatest cost to the city to someone else."
Bartlett and Bynum also sparred over filling vacant positions in the 911 center. Bynum is frustrated by the mayor's recent budget proposal that cuts positions until Vision money kicks in.
Bynum said, "Meanwhile, the mayor has been keeping vacancies in that department, not filling the jobs as people rolled out, and stacked up 15 vacancies, and now saying ‘let's just do that out of Vision.’So now the citizens of Tulsa are not going to get the increase they were promised if the city council approves the budget that the mayor has asked us to."
"We had such a terrible turnover of people, the first thing we have to do is manage it better, but we don't have as many people leaving after we train them. It takes several months to train a person to answer those phones," Bartlett said.
Friday, Mayor Bartlett received an endorsement from former Senator Tom Coburn.
Voters go to the polls June 28th.