Charter amendments: Against 1 and 2, for 3

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As I was pulling out of the driveway on Saturday, a neighbor ran out into the street and flagged me down. She wanted to know what I thought about the three amendments to the Tulsa City Charter on the November 10 ballot.

(You can find sample ballots with the text of the propositions on the Tulsa County Election Board website.)

PROPOSITION NO. 1

"SHALL THE EXISTING CHARTER OF THE CITY OF TULSA, AS HERETOFORE AMENDED, BE FURTHER AMENDED TO REQUIRE THAT ANY PERSON FILING FOR AND HOLDING THE OFFICE OF CITY AUDITOR MUST BE A CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT OR CERTIFIED INTERNAL AUDITOR?"

Proposition No. 1 would require the City Auditor to be either a certified internal auditor or a certified public accountant. I can understand the thinking behind it, but I think it's a misguided amendment. The City Auditor is a misnomer. Head of the city audit department would be a more accurate title. The actual auditing work is done by a staff of internal auditors headed up by a chief who reports to the elected City Auditor. The City Auditor is a leader, a manager, and a communicator. As I wrote earlier this year, the City Auditor ought to be engaged in publicizing his department's findings (particularly those audit recommendations rejected by city department managers) and in lobbying for sufficient resources to keep watch over city finances.

Phil Wood didn't become a CIA until 1991, after he'd been elected and re-elected. Preston Doerflinger, the Republican challenging him this year, is working on his CIA certification. It's a useful qualification to have, but it ought to be up to the voters to decide whether a candidate who isn't a CIA or CPA has other qualities that compensate for that deficiency.

I'm voting AGAINST Proposition No. 1.

PROPOSITION NO. 2

"SHALL THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF TULSA BE AMENDED TO PROVIDE THAT CITY COUNCILORS WILL SERVE FOR THREE-YEAR TERMS, WHICH SHALL BE STAGGERED SO THAT NO MORE THAN THREE COUNCIL DISTRICTS WILL HAVE AN ELECTION IN ANY ONE YEAR?"

Proposition No. 2 would change the City Council term to three years with only three councilors up for re-election. I've written previously about the problems with this idea. Steven Roemerman has two posts, one from July explaining how the change attempts to solve a non-existent problem and one from today asking who benefits from this proposal.

I'm voting AGAINST Proposition No. 2.

PROPOSITION NO. 3

"SHALL THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF TULSA BE AMENDED TO REQUIRE THAT BEFORE ANY CLAIM OR LAWSUIT WHERE THE DEMAND IS EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN $1 MILLION ($1,000,000) MAY BE SETTLED BOTH THE MAYOR AND THE CITY COUNCIL MUST AGREE TO THE SETTLEMENT?"

Proposition No. 3 would require approval from the City Council as well as the Mayor before the city settles a claim or lawsuit in excess of $1 million. This is a response, initiated by District 9 Councilor G. T. Bynum, to Mayor Kathy Taylor's hasty acquiescence in a $7.1 million settlement of the Great Plains Airlines loan default lawsuit. Taylor's unilateral action amounted to a property tax increase without a vote of the people or even of their representatives so that Bank of Oklahoma could be reimbursed for a defaulted loan that they should have had the sense not to make. That should never be allowed to happen again. Not surprisingly, the Tulsa Metro Chamber (a major backer of the failed airline plan) doesn't like limiting the mayor's ability to transfer money to favored businesses.

I'm voting FOR Proposition No. 3.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 2, 2009 5:57 PM.

Karen Keith trying to bully neighborhood leader off planning commission was the previous entry in this blog.

Million-dollar mayoral race: pre-election contribution reports is the next entry in this blog.

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