Proposal To Change Tulsa City Government Could Be Decided By Voters In February

Tuesday, October 12th 2010, 6:06 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A possible change to Tulsa's government that could go before voters early next year. The idea is to change the city charter to give the city council the power to hire and fire a city manager.

10/11/2010 Related Story: Tulsa City Council Considers Changing City Government

Some councilors want to put the idea before voters next February; others want to bump it back to November.  The councilors say the discussion is not tied to their problems with Mayor Bartlett or the charter change petition by a citizens group.

"I don't want anybody to say this is being done because of things going on now. It isn't," said Councilman Roscoe Turner.

Councilor Roscoe Turner wants a professional manager running the city. He has several supporters.

"We're never moving forward, there's never any long term plans, and that's what you get with a city manager, someone looking out for the best interest of the city," said Councilor Chris Trail.

See facts about Council-Manager form of government

But several councilors also want to move slowly on making such a big change.

"We need to move it forward, but we need to do that in the proper fashion, which is not too hastily," Councilor Bill Christiansen said.

Another idea comes from John Brock, and a group called Save Our Tulsa, which wants their charter change ideas on the ballot as well.

Read about Save Our Tulsa's initiative

"A lot of people will tell you we have, from the beginning, we've had a basically flawed system of government," Brock said.

The Save Our Tulsa proposal would add 3 new at-large councilors, make elections non-partisan and make the mayor the chair of the council.

The council proposal is not yet drafted but is likely to be similar to Oklahoma City, with an elected Mayor and Council, who together appoint a City Manager to run things.

Both plans would reduce the executive power of the mayor, but differ in how it would impact the council.

"I don't think it's a question of having more control but I do say it's an effort to have more involvement so we can better serve the citizens of Tulsa," Christiansen said.