Two Competing Plans To Shake Up Tulsa City Government On Ballot

Wednesday, November 2nd 2011, 11:41 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa voters could scrap the city's strong-mayor form of government in less than a week. That's if they can decipher the two competing plans on Tuesday's ballot.

Businessman John Brock leads a group called "Save Our Tulsa" that wants to restructure city government.

"If we don't do anything, you can expect more of the same," Brock said.

Brock believes Tulsa's government has been dysfunctional for 21 years. He says changing it so the mayor leads the council is the solution.

"If he's the chairman of the council, they'll have to sit down and work it out together," he said.

The Save Our Tulsa plan is three separate questions on the ballot.

  • The first would add the mayor to the city council, and make the mayor the chair of the council.
  • It would also create three new council districts, with at large councilors serving larger areas that overlap the current districts.
  • The other questions would restore the 2 year terms to the council, right now it's 3, and another would make city elections non-partisan.

"We're going to get better turnouts by having non-partisan voting," Brock said.

The other proposition to change the government comes from the city council, where disagreements with the mayor have been frequent in the last two years.

Their plan would make the mayor part of council and its leader, and make elections non-partisan. It would shift many of the mayor's duties to a city manager - and extend the terms of the councilors to 4 years.

The council would appoint the City Manager and City Attorney and the currently elected position of City Auditor.

Both the proposition from the council - and the special election petition from Save Our Tulsa - are on the same ballot. Both could pass - setting up a conflict that could end up in court.

09/16/2011 Related Story: Former Mayors Debate Overhauling Tulsa City Government