Vaughn Sworn in as Oklahoma County Commissioner

Article excerpt

The board of Oklahoma County commissioners swore in Ray Vaughn as the new District 3 representative Tuesday, shifting the political weight on the three-person board and likely leading to the reinstitution of the budget board soon.

And all three commissioners agreed that county government this year must work on repairs and funding sources for the jail system.

"We need to make sure the state Legislature is aware of the problems we have here in Oklahoma County in housing their inmates. That will be one of the hot items before the board that we should be looking closely at," District 2 Commissioner Brent Rinehart said. "And I say that with the caveat of, 'without a tax increase.' That means a bond issue or anything else that results in Oklahoma County citizens ponying up more money to fund that jail.

"In this new year, all things are possible," he said.

Vaughn, formerly a state representative of six years, returned to politics this week following the defeat of incumbent Commissioner Stan Inman in last year's elections. After the ceremony, Vaughn voted in favor of Ward 1 Commissioner Jim Roth holding the title of board chairman; Vaughn was then elected as vice-chairman.

"I feel like we're headed in the right direction," Vaughn said later. "There was a spirit of cooperation expressed this morning that hopefully will become a new standard for the board of county commissioners, and I'm optimistic about it."

Almost two years ago, shortly after District 2 Commissioner Brent Rinehart began his own first term, Inman and Rinehart disbanded the 25-year-old budget board in a 2-1 vote against Roth. The board was comprised of the county's eight elected officials - the three commissioners, plus the treasurer, assessor, sheriff, clerk and court clerk. …