Bartlett Calls Council Differences 'Ancient History'

Wednesday, September 15th 2010, 2:32 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News on 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- One day after rejecting an open forum to discuss his differences with the Tulsa City Council, Mayor Dewey Bartlett said today he doesn't want to discuss it at all.

"We can look forward or we can look backwards. I think it's a waste of time to look backwards," Bartlett told a Chamber of Commerce audience this afternoon.

It was the Chamber of Commerce that had encouraged Bartlett and Councilors to talk out their problems. The City Council rejected closed door mediation, and Bartlett has rejected an open discussion.

9/14/2010 Related Story: Tulsa Mayor And City Council Discussing Peace Talks

"I think those all, that is ancient history," Bartlett said about the issues with the council.

But before the Mayor delivered his first ever address to the members of the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, the chairman urged him and council to settle their differences.

"And find the political courage to grow this city and this county, together," Don Walker, Metro Chamber Chair, said.

Mayor Bartlett talked a lot about the new audit showing that much of Tulsa's city government services need to be pared down to make the budget work.  He didn't talk in his prepared remarks about the disputes with the city council that have consumed so much time for the administration.

Read the Mayor's speech

"Those things will take care of themselves in the near future, but lets look at other things, that's what I'm emphasizing today, the future," he said.

On that point, Councilor Maria Barnes agreed with the Mayor.

"I can't spend time wondering if he wants to meet or not meet, in public or in private, it is ancient history and I have things to do," she said.

But Councilor Jack Henderson saw it as a missed opportunity.

"I really was taken aback that he did not spend more time on an audience this size, trying to explain, trying to get a better relationship with the council," he said.

And Councilor Rick Westcott thinks there are things to be discussed.

"I think there are some issues that need be resolved, as in any relationship, before you can go forward, you need to resolve what has been causing problems," Westcott said.