Tulsa Fire Chief Reprimanded In Hiring Scandal; Back On The Job

Friday, September 30th 2011, 5:19 pm
By: News On 6


TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett put the fire chief back on the job but reprimanded him at the same time.

Bartlett says Fire Chief Allen LaCroix had authority to grant favors in hiring at the fire department, but was wrong in handling a specific case - the son of Bartlett's now former Chief of Staff Terry Simonson.

"A mistake was made. But I will reiterate: the chief was acting within his charter-granted authority and responsibility," Bartlett said.

The fire chief was on leave while a committee looked into his adding a name to a what was full list of firefighter candidates.

Other applicants without a connection at city hall had been turned away, but at the fire chief's order, Ryan Simonson - the son of Terry Simonson - was added.

As this situation came to light, Simonson claimed he did nothing wrong by sending the one sentence email request to the fire chief, but Thursday he quit his job, calling it a distraction for the mayor.

Read The Emails

A committee was also looking into the actions of Fire Chief Allen Lacroix, who granted the favor, over the objections of the human resources department at city hall.

Friday, Bartlett said LaCroix was wrong to do it but within his authority as chief to move anyone he wanted up the ladder of hiring.

"And I think he's expressed to me and others a very, very sincere apology for whatever problems this created for Mr. Simonson and his son," Bartlett said.

Bartlett says this closes the issue for the city. He said there will be no written report issued, verbal only.

Bartlett says it's been a difficult, stressful week for him personally.  He said he believes his administration acted properly to handle the questions about both Simonson and LaCroix.

Mayor Bartlett says he doesn't have any candidates yet to replace Terry Simonson.

Simonson will continue to work for the city for the next two weeks, as the staff reassigns his duties.

9/29/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Mayor's Chief Of Staff Terry Simonson Submits Resignation