Tulsa City Council Has 'No Confidence' In City Attorney

Thursday, January 6th 2011, 8:21 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma --  The Tulsa City Council voted to approve a "Resolution of No Confidence" in Interim City Attorney David Pauling Thursday night.

The resolution is expected to be vetoed by Mayor Dewey Bartlett, who appointed Pauling to the position in December, but the Council has enough votes to override his veto.

The vote in favor of the resolution was 8-1.  Only Councilor GT Bynum voted against it.

Read the resolution

Several councilors outlined a list of complaints about Pauling, mainly over opinions that most often have agreed with Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

"That is a common theme to many things that we have heard," said Councilor John Eagleton.

The Council and the Mayor have argued for a year now over the authority and boundaries of each other's jobs and the vote on Pauling is a smaller battle in the overall war. Pauling says while he has the trust of the mayor, he's still hoping to gain the confidence of the council.

12/22/2010 Related Story: Judge Asked To Stop Vote On Tulsa City Attorney Position

"It's my regret that I've made less progress with the council and honestly part of that is that they don't trust me, in that they think I'm doing the mayor's bidding," he said.

Councilor Rick Westcott said he one reason he was voting for the resolution was that Pauling's wife works in the legal department, as a subordinate to Pauling.

"He's in direct violation of city policy about family members in the workplace" said Westcott.

Mayor Bartlett fully supports Pauling and urged the council to wait and see.

"I know he and the council have disagreements over things, I have disagreements with him, but at the end of the day, he's the city attorney, he gives his best judgment and makes his judgment accordingly," Bartlett said.

But Councilor John Eagleton, himself an attorney, said Pauling put the council and city in legal jeopardy by not showing up for an important court hearing, and issued opinions that Eagleton thinks are clearly wrong.

"There are a myriad of complaints, but for me, failing to show up in court, or to provide for representation if you have a conflict, is lacking for a minimum standard for a city attorney," Eagleton said.

Pauling noted the City of Tulsa was not being sued, as an entity; instead the Councilors individually are being sued.

Pauling says the vote legally doesn't carry much weight because he's still the city attorney and the council is still his client.

The Tulsa City Council also voted Thursday to restore pay cuts for city employees for the remaining of the current budget year.

The vote, which has the support of the Mayor, would eliminate two furlough days for most city employees and restore a pension contribution for firefighters, which was the equivalent of a 3% pay cut.

The restoration of pay is retroactive to January 1, 2011.

1/4/2011 Related Story: City Of Tulsa To Roll Back Furlough Days, Pay Cuts