Tulsa Mayor Calls Last Minute News Conference On Hiring Scandal

Tuesday, September 27th 2011, 10:47 pm
By: News On 6

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett called a last-minute news conference Tuesday night. It was all about the brewing scandal that calls into question the integrity of Tulsa's fire chief and the mayor's right-hand-man.

Even the mayor's staffers were caught off guard when the news conference was called. Some speculated the mayor may have taken some action regarding his chief of staff and fire chief.

But both still have their jobs and remain on administrative leave for now.

The mayor says he called in the media because the public needs to know he's taking these allegations seriously. This all stems from accusations that the mayor's chief of staff Terry Simonson may have used his position at city hall to get his son named to the list of fire department applicants.

9/23/2011 Related Story: Favoritism Allegations Lead To Suspension Of Tulsa Fire Chief, Bartlett's Chief Of Staff

Fire Chief Allen LaCroix is accused of creating a slot for Simonson's son, even though that list was full. Mayor Bartlett named a four-person citizen investigative panel, which includes Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz, to look into the matter.

The group met Tuesday and interviewed Simonson, his son, Chief LaCroix and a fire department human resources employee for five hours. Mayor Bartlett said the group wants to spend the next couple of days reviewing the situation and would give him their recommendations by the end of the week.

But the mayor says the decision is ultimately his.

"The public needs to know we are pursuing this. This is not something we're taking lightly. We're serious about this. Ethics rules need to be followed," Bartlett said.

The mayor has also named a second committee to review the fire department application process, which was blasted by several city councilors earlier in the day. They say the process works fine.

9/27/2011 Related Story: Tulsa City Council Looks Into Fire Department's Hiring Practices