Charter change on the agenda Tuesday, Thursday


At last Thursday's Tulsa City Council meeting, a list of charter changes was on the agenda and about half of them were dropped off the list. The Council is deciding which proposed charter amendments will be presented to the voters at next March's general election. Further discussion of the list is on the agenda for tomorrow's Urban and Economic Development Committee meeting, 10 a.m., in the Council committee room on the second floor of the City Hall tower. If there are items on the list that you want the chance to vote on, or items that were dropped that you'd like brought back for further consideration, be there tomorrow if you can, and plan to be there Thursday night when the list is back before the full Council.

Here's the list of proposed charter amendments that emerged from last Tuesday's Council committee meeting and was discussed at last Thursday's regular Council meeting.

I was disappointed at the decision to drop the residency requirement (item 9). That ought to go without saying in a representative form of government, but since we have a councilor (Randy Sullivan) who lives outside the district he purports to represent, apparently we need to spell it out, and provide a process for determining that a member no longer resides in his district and declaring the seat vacant. (In fact, there is already such a provision in state law, but since it requires the Council to act against one of its own members, and there is room for interpretation in any conflict between state law and city charter, it's best to spell out the process in the charter.

I was also disappointed at the decision against the idea of removing city department heads from civil service protection. If government is to be accountable to the voters, the mayor has to have the ability to bring in a department head who will cooperate with his proposed reforms. It's pathetic that in a so-called "strong mayor" form of government, the Mayor can tell the voters, "Sorry, I wish I could make the changes in Department XYZ that I promised in the election, but the department head doesn't see things my way, and there's nothing I can do about it." The President gets to choose the heads of Federal departments with Senate approval; why not let the Mayor choose the heads of city departments with Council approval?

That's all the time I have to write about this tonight, but I hope you Tulsans will take an interest in this, attend the meetings if you can, watch it on TGOV 24 if you can't be there in person, and make your opinions known. The issues up for debate are there for a reason. The right amendments will help us have a city that is run for the benefit of all Tulsans, not just a favored few.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 22, 2005 5:05 PM.

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