City Auditor: For Preston Doerflinger

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UPDATE 2009/11/08: I retract my previous retraction. I'm endorsing Preston Doerflinger for City Auditor. I am sorry that it has taken me this long to write about it here. (I don't retract my statements about his political consultants.)

UPDATE 2009/09/08: I just heard City Council candidate Chris Trail's radio ad unfairly attacking Bill Martinson. I'm sorry, but I can't vote for anyone who is a client of Karl Ahlgren or Fount Holland, as once again they are unfairly attacking an honest, intelligent public official at the behest of a deep-pockets client, just as they trashed DA Tim Harris in 2004. You may have also seen their mailer on behalf of Dewey Bartlett Jr, perpetrating a last-minute smear against Chris Medlock, lying by saying that he has lied about his opponents in previous campaigns. If Tom Coburn is paying attention to what his erstwhile staffers are up to, I'm sure he's disgusted. If Doerflinger makes it through the primary, he'll have to fire Ahlgren to convince me that he's worthy of my vote against Phil Wood.

There are two Republican candidates for Tulsa city auditor, seeking to challenge 21-year incumbent Phil Wood.

Preston Doerflinger, a young business owner, has run a very visible campaign, hitting all the candidate forums and raising and spending a ton of money, and evidently using the same campaign team as Dewey Bartlett Jr and Chris Trail.

Lynn Ruemler, a retired CPA, has filled out a few questionnaires but otherwise has not been out on the campaign trail.

Based on a Tulsa World story, it appears that both candidates share my dissatisfaction with the incumbent's level of assertiveness:

Ruemler, 52, said he was running because of his disappointment in how the Auditor's Office has handled a City Council-directed investigation into falsified firefighter-training records.

"It was like a burr under my saddle. I thought, 'I can do so much better than that and the city deserves so much better than that,'" he said.

That issue, coupled with the announcement that all city employees would be furloughed for eight days, solidified his decision, Ruemler said. "I thought, 'We need to watch every penny we spend,'" he said. ...

Doerflinger said he doesn't agree with the way Wood has defined the auditor's role. It should be more active in helping the city to operate more efficiently, he said.

"I think we really need someone that takes on a watchdog role versus the current caretaker approach," he said.

"I've read how Wood said it shouldn't be about political grandstanding, but to me it's not political grandstanding if you find issues in areas that are going to save taxpayers money," he said.

"If you can't get policymakers to take actions on your findings, then I think you should be standing on your head until someone pays attention," he said.

I have not had the opportunity to speak at length with Doerflinger, although we had a good conversation shortly after the filing period. People I know and trust who have spoken with him at length speak highly of him. Through them I learn that the many out-of-Tulsa donations come from friends of his. (For the auditor's office, it might not be a bad thing for campaign cash to come from out of town -- perhaps less of a chance that a local city contractor might try to influence the election.) Also secondhand, I learn that his donations to Democratic Congressman Dan Boren have to do for some help the congressman's office provided to his family. (I don't recall the details.)

As a CPA, Ruemler would seem to have more directly applicable experience for the auditor's job, but he did not respond to a set of questions I sent him.

Doerflinger could have been the subject of another entry in the BatesLine candidate background check series, but I only thought to look yesterday. An OSCN search turns up multiple speeding tickets and driving under a suspended license along with a divorce. Checking the non-OCIS database turns up even more traffic violations. But the speeding tickets seem to end in 2001, which may indicate that he turned over a new leaf at that time.

(If you're going to be a reckless driver, better to be named John Smith than Preston Doerflinger.)

I'm hopeful that Doerflinger will explain the situation with the speeding tickets. In the meantime, I'm voting for him, as he actually seems to want the job. If we want to have a shot at defeating a long-time incumbent -- a good man, but not as assertive as the auditor needs to be -- we'll need someone who really wants the job and is willing and able to campaign hard.

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If you weren't convinced a year ago that Tulsa needed a new City Auditor, you should be now. The incumbent, Phil Wood, has held the job since 1988, and he's the only auditor we've had under the 1989 City Charter, which gave the Auditor's office a great... Read More

1 Comments

R.F said:

Doerflinger won but I am very curious why I can't find any information (other than information he has given himself) online about these "successful" companies he is supposed to own. I did find that he went to Tulsa Community College in 1996 (when he was 24 and states that he started his first company) and Southern Nazarene Univ in 2006 (when he was 34) to obtain a BS in Organizational Leadership which according to the university website is a 14 week course (one class a week) for people with at least 60 hours of previous college credit.
I think we should've stayed with the Princeton and Harvard educated former auditor.
I honestly think a more indepth look into Preston Doerflinger is needed.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 8, 2009 2:25 AM.

The 2009 District 8 race was the previous entry in this blog.

Mayor: Medlock is the next entry in this blog.

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