Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa Mayor, City Council Bicker over Attorney

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa Mayor, City Council Bicker over Attorney

Article excerpt

The bickering is back.

The Tulsa City Council and Mayor Dewey Bartlett went toe-to-toe for an hour Tuesday morning over the council's attorney's position.

For several weeks Bartlett has sent letters to City Council Attorney Drew Rees, asking for documents and asking questions about Rees' authority. Bartlett and the council have debated a number of issues over the past nine months.

Bartlett, citing the city charter, maintains that the position is under the city attorney.

"Since I am the mayor, I supervise the city attorney and the employees on the city attorney staff, including Mr. Rees," Bartlett said. "I asked for information and simply did not get it."

District 8 City Counselor Bill Christiansen asked Bartlett to iron the matter out on Tuesday with the City Council.

The issue sparked a heated debate almost from the start, however, as the councilors and Bartlett argued over who said what when and whether former Mayor Bill LaFortune's signature could be read on a copy of the document creating the city attorney position.

The City Council defended Rees, saying the position was created by then-Mayor LaFortune in 2002.

The city attorney position was created in 2002 by LaFortune with assistance from the human resources department and the city attorney, District 2 City Councilor Rick Westcott said.

"If we presented you with the original document showing Mayor LaFortune's signature, would that satisfy you?" asked Westcott.

"Probably not," Bartlett responded.

Bartlett denied accusations that his actions were personally directed "to get" Rees. Bartlett also asked District 7 City Councilor John Eagleton to "stop interrogating me."

"I took an oath to follow the city charter and it is my responsibility to enforce the city charter," Bartlett said. "But it is not personal."

Westcott read an e-mail from City Attorney Deidre Dexter, stating that Rees is not on her staff. …

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