Tulsa City Council Term Changes Mean 3 Seats Up For Election This Year

Thursday, November 1st 2012, 6:12 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A couple of city council races will be on the ballot in Tulsa next Tuesday.

If it seems like there's always a council race on the ballot; that is almost true.

Voters changed the terms for city councilors - then changed them back - and it's going to take a couple of years to straighten that out.

The Tulsa City Council has both long-timers and relative newcomers on board.

That's a function of who was elected - and not re-elected - and a charter change that staggered the terms of councilors.

Longtime city councilor Jack Henderson pushed for longer, staggered terms to promote experience at City Hall.

"If everybody got booted out, then we could actually lose the entire council and the Mayor in that time frame," said Henderson

City hall's leadership will be staggered, but just for two more years.

Voters changed the charter and then changed it back, so by 2014, council terms will be back to two years, with the entire council up for election at the same time.

11/8/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Voters Reject City Government Overhaul Propositions

This year, three council races have been or will be decided for two year terms.

Next year, three other councilors will get one year terms.

In 2014, all nine councilors will be up for election, for two year terms.

One other change is that while most offices like state representative have Democrats and Republicans on the ballot, this ballot is the first general election where city candidates are not identified by party.

That change was made to take some of the politics out of city politics

"But on the ballot when you go to the ballot box, they'll just see two names, not Democrat or Republican, and I think that's totally unfair to the people, people who want to vote a certain way they're gonna do that," Henderson said.

The changes also influenced the re-election of City Councilor Blake Ewing.

He faced no primary opponent and was automatically re-elected without waiting for the general election.

One city councilor, Tom Mansur, is not campaigning even though he's on the ballot.

He's moving out of the city, so if he's elected, the post would be declared vacant and a special election will likely be held in February to fill the office.