Favoritism Allegations Lead To Suspension Of Tulsa Fire Chief, Bartlett's Chief Of Staff

Friday, September 23rd 2011, 9:40 pm
By: News On 6


TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett will place his chief of staff and the fire chief on suspension while an investigation starts into hiring practices at the fire department.

Chief of Staff Terry Simonson is accused of using his influence to get his son a slot in the fire department applicant pool after all the slots were full.

Bartlett's Press Secretary Lloyd Wright said Simonson and Fire Chief Allen LaCroix would be placed on paid leave effective at 6 p.m. Monday while the mayor investigates the allegations.

Wright said Bartlett plans to form two committees to examine whether Simonson intervened and whether it influenced the decision making by LaCroix.

Bartlett did not answer calls for comment and Wright said Bartlett would not be talking about the situation because it is a personnel issue.

The Tulsa City Council has scheduled a discussion of the situation for Tuesday morning, but Wright said "they can talk about it among themselves."

Wright said Bartlett is "taking it very, very seriously. He wants no ambiguity left" about the allegations.

Wright said the committees would examine whether there was undue influence by Simonson and whether it influenced the selection process for testing.