City Attorney Jackere to retire; Dexter to serve as interim

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An e-mail this morning from Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor:

Dear City of Tulsa employees,

I am writing to keep you informed of recent actions regarding the City's legal department. City Attorney Alan Jackere has decided to retire effective January 2nd, 2007 and has agreed to remain with the City's legal department through the end of the year. Alan has worked for this city for 32 years and I sincerely appreciate his long service to Tulsa.

I will begin the process of searching for a permanent successor immediately. As you may know, this is a civil service position and, as has been the long-standing practice, internal candidates will be given the first opportunity to apply and be considered for the position.

To supervise the Legal Department and assist in a transition until a successor is hired, Judge Deirdre Dexter will serve as acting interim City Attorney beginning immediately.

I hope you will all join me as we all wish Alan well in his future endeavors. As is true of so many of you, Alan has been a dedicated veteran of public service to our City. He deserves our thanks and appreciation for his work.

Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

Kathy Taylor
Mayor

Interesting -- thanks and appreciation to someone she suspended? And what of Larry Simmons, the deputy City Attorney who was also suspended.

Deirdre Dexter is a pleasantly surprising choice to serve in the interim. I endorsed her in the runoff for District Judge Office 10 (won by Mary Fitzgerald).

You'll note that City Attorney is a civil service position. As important as the job is -- one of the few non-elected offices whose duties are specified in the City Charter -- the appointment ought to be handled like the U. S. Attorney General, nominated by the executive and confirmed by the legislative branch (the City Council).

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5 Comments

RecycleMichael Author Profile Page said:

I read your comment on this on an e-mail last week that you thought the City Council should confirm appointments. I am wondering why you suddenly think that the mayor should get confirmation from the council on some hired positions.

I never heard you say that when republican Mayor LaFortune was appointing a new police chief, a new city attorney, a new head of parks or airport or any number of the department heads he appointed.

Has something changed in your mind that now that a democrat is mayor a republican council should tell them who to hire?

Where do you stop? Which city hires should be approved by the council? Should the new Economic Development head be confirmed? How about the office of neighborhoods or the mayor's secretary or assistants?

The Charter is very clear on this issue. The council approves of the Vice_Mayor, but the Mayor is responsible for everybody else. The City Council already approves all appointments to city boards, but the employees all report to the Mayor and the Council has never been involved in who is hired.

Do you think this warrants a charter change?

MichaelBates said:

If you'll look back to this entry, dated August 22, 2005, you'll find this (emphasis added):

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?

So, yes, I do believe that this warrants a charter change, and I believed that even when a Republican was Mayor.

There are two aspects to what I suggested. The Mayor would gain the ability to dismiss and replace department heads, and the Council would play a role in confirming appointees to those key executive posts. It's interesting, Michael, that you've seized upon the aspect that empowers the Council while overlooking the aspect that enhances the ability of the Mayor to choose the policymakers working under her.

How far should it go? As with the President, heads of departments should require confirmation, but executive advisers should not.

By the way, the Mayor already has to get Council approval to reorganize city divisions, so there's some charter precedent for Council involvement in executive branch decisions. (Article III, Section 1.6.)

RecycleMichael Author Profile Page said:

My apologies for missing your comments in 2005.

I think approving the structure of government and approving the people in government are two different things.

In a strong Mayor form of government, the buck stops with the Mayor. I want them to have the people in place to get the job done and I want to blame them if it ain't.

I think having the council involved in the hiring will just make things more political.

D.Schuttler said:

Why do you let someone get the benefits of retirement when that person was not worthy to hold the position he is being allowed to retire from.

Well the Mayor go on with her firing of Jackere? Will we get to know why he was suspended? Just because his arm got twisted into retiring just like Been, we the public still deserve the answers and truth behind the suspension.

I don't want my tax money paying for someones retirement from a job he was getting fired from.

Paul Tay said:

I agree with RM. Council affirmation looks good on paper. But, the nitty-gritty of fixing potholes, busting bad guys, and picking up the trash do NOT warrant increased political intervention.

I've always believe 11th Floor is way too top heavy. The Mayor really only needs three subordinates, NOT 16, directly accountable to him/her. Chief of Staff to deal with department heads. Communications Director to rumble with media and external agencies. And, Council liason.

I can't even imagine how anything ever gets done with all manner of underlings to confuse the Head Cheese.

Make life SIMPLE.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 4, 2006 11:58 AM.

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