Tulsa City Council, Mayor Spar Over Government Cable Channel

Wednesday, September 22nd 2010, 6:03 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6  

TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- It's by no stretch of the imagination exciting television, but TGOV is a way to look in on city government, without a trip to city hall.

The channel is mainly city council meetings, but it's also platform for the mayor and council to speak directly to the public.

The mayor would like to see it be much more.

"I think we need to change the focus a bit and get a lot more aggressive and visionary in how we use the channel," Mayor Dewey Bartlett said.

But the channel was created by the city council and is a product of the city council staff. The council doesn't want to change the channel so they recently clarified in writing that it is the council in charge of TGOV.

"It is an absolutely unbiased view of city government and all the ordinance does is codify what we've been doing by resolution," Rick Westcott, Tulsa City Council.

The new ordinance on TGOV was vetoed by the Mayor, who complains the council isn't making the most of what TGOV could be. He says the council never even asked about his plan to revamp TGOV before writing an ordinance to keep him out of it.

"I vetoed it and if they override it, well that's their prerogative, but at least maybe this time we'd get a chance to talk about it," he said.

Bartlett wants to expand TGOV's offerings so more people will watch. Councilor Westcott says it's likely the council will override the Mayor's veto, keeping TGOV's operation as it is.

"So it's not controlled by any individual and it never should be," Westcott said.

The mayor has also vetoed a council charter change to make the city attorney an elected position. The council will vote on overriding that and the TGOV veto Thursday night.