Michael Bates to retire

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No, not me, darn it. Michael S. Bates, Human Resources Director for the City of Tulsa, is stepping down after nearly 12 years in the post and 34 years as a city employee. He's one of the reasons I have made a point of using my middle initial here, in my Urban Tulsa Weekly column, and in my two runs for City Council.

I've only met him once, probably in 1999 or 2000, at a breakfast hosted by Mayor Susan Savage on "smart growth." He mentioned (in jest, I think) that if I had a letter to the editor in the paper, Savage would stop by his office to ask about it.

Citeewurkors have told me that the other Michael Bates isn't beloved within their ranks. I don't know why that is -- perhaps just because he's the guy that has to enforce the rules, the guy sitting on the other side of the table during salary negotiations. When I ran for office, I won over a few voters by assuring them that I wasn't him, so I assume I lost a few votes from city employees who didn't get that message. Then again, I may have gained a few votes from people who assumed the head of personnel for the city would have something substantial to offer as a councilor.

He says he plans to be a consultant, so the need to disambiguate our names isn't going to go away any time soon.

But it turns out that a middle initial isn't enough to set me apart from all other Michael Bateses. I know of another registered Tulsa County voter with the same three names as me who is six months older than I am. And according to the city payroll spreadsheet released recently by the Tulsa Whirled, there's an "equipment operator II" in the Public Works department named Michael D. Bates.

Then there's Michael W. Bates, a former Member of the British Parliament and a leader of the Conservative Christian Fellowship; Michael Bates, the late British actor (Clockwork Orange, Bedazzled, and, on TV, "It Ain't Half Hot, Mum" and "Last of the Summer Wine"); Michael Bates, prince of the unrecognized micronation of Sealand; Chicago area political columnist Michael M. Bates. (The latter's bio concludes, "As a lad, he distributed Goldwater campaign literature and since then has steadily moved further to the Right.")

I guess this sort of confusion is bound to occur when you have a surname in the top 250 by popularity and a first name that was number one through most of the Baby Boom and Baby Bust years.

Maybe I should follow TAFKAP's lead and change my name to an unpronounceable symbol.

Here's to a happy retirement for any and all Michael Bateses.

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3 Comments

Shadow6 said:

Wow, you could vote several times in Tulsa, and by absentee all over the country. Of course, that would be crazy.

Paul Tay said:

You should run again.

Michael...I'm very disappointed that you forgot the fact that I introduced you (again) to Mr. Bates in the Vista Room of the Gilcrease Museum, minutes after Kathy Taylor was sworn into office. Tsk...tsk.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 11, 2007 9:27 PM.

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