By Emory Bryan, The News on 6
TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- The Tulsa City Council rejected mediation with Mayor Dewey Bartlett Thursday, over concerns about compromising legal issues, and having talks behind closed doors.
After weeks of talking about mediation, the city council during its meeting decided they didn't have much they were willing to consider compromising, certainly not the allegation the mayor lied to the council and not the lawsuit pending against them.
Instead, they want public meetings to talk things over with the mayor. But Bartlett doesn't think it will work.
The city council rejected all but one item from the mayor's list of topics for mediation.
They rejected using two judges to mediate their discussion, instead adopting an offer from the Chamber of Commerce for a less formal, more public discussion.
Councilors Eagleton and Bynum wanted mediation; the others did not.
"We'll lose the advantage of having a candid conversation," Eagleton said. "I would anticipate that the mayor's statements in public will be more reserved than what we would anticipate in a closed door mediation."
"There are a lot of people who legitimately want to see the mediation, the discussion in an open forum," Councilor Rick Westcott said.
The councilors agreed that everything should be out in the open but that legal and policy issues should not be discussed together.
Instead they agreed to set up a policy forum, in late September, with the mayor.
"Where we can determine that those issues are that we all agree on that we can focus on to move the city forward and request that Mayor Bartlett work with us as a team to develop the proposals that come out of that," Councilor GT Bynum said.
A disappointed Mayor Bartlett said after the vote he's always willing to talk, but he doesn't think much will be accomplished in an open meeting.
"Nothing much gets accomplished," Bartlett said. "I think mediation is a proven reliable method of solving all problems, not just one or two."
There's no time set yet for these mayor and council meetings, but the policy forum might be the last Tuesday in September.