Tulsa City Council Suggests Mayoral Pay Cut

Tuesday, May 3rd 2011, 4:13 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Tulsa City Council quizzed newly appointed City Manager Jim Twombly about his job Tuesday and several Councilors suggested with such an expansion of duties, he deserved part of the Mayor's salary.

The Mayor created the new position last week and reorganized the reporting structure so the City Manager handles many of the functions of government previously controlled by the Mayor.

4/27/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Restructures City Government

Councilor Jack Henderson told Twombly "You're taking half his job away from him and he needs to give back half his salary. If he thinks $105,000 is worth what he does after he gives you the biggest portion of the job, I think we need to re-evaluate that. This is crazy."

Henderson said he wasn't going to recognize Twombly as a City Manager, since he still reports to the Chief of Staff and the Mayor.

"I'm not going to call you a city manager, I'm going to say you're the in-charge person," Henderson said

Several Councilors criticized the Mayor for creating the position, which involves only a shift of responsibility, just as they are trying to alter the charter to create a true City Manager form of government.

Councilor Chris Trail told Twombly "I don't want to be part of deceiving the public regarding this city manager. At best, you're an assistant City Manager. The Mayor is the City Manager."

Trail questioned whether the City needed a Mayor, Chief of Staff and City Manager. Twombly said there were several cities, such as Fresno, California, where a strong mayor has appointed a City Manager to operate the departments. In Tulsa, Bartlett retains control of the Fire and Police Departments.

Councilor Rick Westcott quizzed Twombly about his authority, noting he doesn't have authority to sign contracts, is not the chief administrative officer, doesn't have supervision of all branches, cannot hire or fire employees, and cannot independently make decisions without the oversight of Chief of Staff Terry Simonson and the Mayor.

Councilor Roscoe Turner told Twombly "You could have had these same duties assigned to you without a title change." Twombly will retain his current salary as Director of Administration.

Councilor John Eagleton told Twombly he was initially skeptical about the Mayor's appointment, but said he was won over during the discussion because Twombly answered questions directly and was promising better communication with the Council.

Councilor G.T. Bynum pointed out the form of government had not actually changed, but said "I think it's great the mayor has recognized the importance of having a city manager and professionalized the administration of executive duties within our government."

Councilor Bill Christiansen was critical of the appointment, calling it a political stunt, while praising Twombly for his previous communication.

Bill Christiansen, Tulsa City Councilor: "This is not a city manager form of government, is it?"

Jim Twombly, City Manager: "No. It's still a strong mayor form of government."