Council Attorney Position Sparks Heated Debate Between Tulsa City Council, Mayor

Tuesday, October 19th 2010, 12:48 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6 

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Tulsa City Council defended its lawyer Tuesday in a heated exchange with Mayor Dewey Bartlett, who believes the council is violating the City Charter by utilizing a full time city attorney.

9/30/2010 Related Story: Tulsa City Council, Mayor Argue Over Council Attorney Position

At different points, Mayor Bartlett asked a city councilor to stop pointing his finger at him, and for another to stop interrogating him.

Bartlett is alone in the city government in arguing the position is illegitimate.

Read the role of city attorney 

Some councilors believe it's a personal vendetta, because Rees advised the council during their investigation of Bartlett. "Let it go, what is it to continue pushing this train?" Said Tulsa City Councilor Henderson.

The council wants the mayor to drop it. "I'm not surprised people are talking about changing the form of government, because they're being let down," Tulsa City Councilor Bynum said.

Mayor Bartlett says he's not going to let the matter go. "I'm not trying to beat a dead horse, or harass anybody, I'm really not.  I'm just trying to get to the bottom of an issue," he said.

The discussion comes after The council and Bartlett's attorney Joel Wohlgemuth exchanged a series of harsh letters over Rees' job.

Read the letters

The conflict escalated when the Mayor's press secretary Lloyd Wright reported Rees threatened the Mayor.  

The claim was investigated and dismissed by police. "Whatever the policies and procedures were, they were followed, I did not call the police department," Bartlett said.

With all that in the background, the council tried to pin the mayor down with paperwork showing the position is legitimate, but Bartlett wouldn't back down.

The hour of discussion didn't lead to any compromises, but served to once again solidify the council against Bartlett.

The council has the paperwork showing the position was transferred to them in 2002.