Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Mcauliffe Enjoys His Job of Making Mayor's Job Easier

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Mcauliffe Enjoys His Job of Making Mayor's Job Easier

Article excerpt

Mike McAuliffe may never run for mayor of Oklahoma City, but as assistant to the mayor, he may very well have as much experience at the job as anyone since Patience Latting.

Hired as an administrative specialist two years ago (his anniversary date is Friday), McAuliffe became assistant to the mayor under Andy Coats and has continued in that same job under Ron Norick.

As assistant to the mayor, McAuliffe helps to coordinate the mayor's activities, does leg work for the mayor, reviews city council agendas with the mayor, keeps the mayor informed, represents the mayor at meetings when the mayor can't be present, fills in for the mayor and vice-mayor at ceremonial functions when neither of them can be present and develops projects to lift morale for city employees.

As he puts it, "Whatever I can do to make the mayor's job easier - that's my job."

McAuliffe, a native Tulsan, was raised in Oklahoma City and graduated from Bishop McGuinness High School. He attended the University of Oklahoma and received his bachelor's degree in public relations from Central State University. He also received associate degrees in corrections and in sociology from Oklahoma City Community College.

At age 19, he was hired by the Oklahoma City Alliance for Safer Cities to help run its detoxification program. Six months after he was hired, he became director of the program and continued at that position for almost 10 years before he was hired by Coats' administration. He later became assistant to the mayor.

McAuliffe's job as assistant to the mayor is not an 8 to 5 job, what with all the special events occuring after hours and on weekends. However, his job with the detox program trained him for odd hours because it required him to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"That's part of the fun of it," he said of his current job. "There's always something going on.

"I think it's important for the mayor's office to be represented at as many functions as possible," said McAuliffe.

While Norick and Vice-mayor Jack Cornett have the most responsibility to be present at ceremonial events such as ribbon cuttings, occasionally McAuliffe has to fill in for them and sometimes even gets a chance to speak.

Once, soon after Norick had taken office, McAuliffe had to fill in for the mayor at a ribbon cutting and made a speech.

"Mayor Coats regrets he couldn't be here today," McAuliffe said, and then catching himself in mid-sentence added, "so does Mayor Norick."

McAuliffe agreed the job as assistant to the mayor offers a great deal of flexibility and requires anyone in that position to prove his or her own mettle.

"Whoever holds that position pretty much creates his own job," he said.

McAuliffe works with city Public Information Director Karen Farney to coordinate the mayor's weekly press conferences. The idea was born out of the city hall press corps, McAuliffe said, but was one that fit in well with Norick's feelings about openness in city government.

"I think the press helped us come up with that idea when they talked about accessibility (of the mayor and city manager). At first we were concerned that we may not have enough news each week to justify the press conferences," he said.

In addition to his regular duties, McAuliffe helped develop the "Fast Food Feast" last year, during which fast food franchises donated meals for a feast by city employees and their families, a charity basketball game pitting city officials against members of the press and the Mayor's Cup softball game this year, which pitted the Mayor's All-Stars against the City Manager's All-Stars prior to an Oklahoma City 89ers ballgame.

Other ideas in McAuliffe's head include challenging a group of city employees from Tulsa to a softball game against a group of city employees from Oklahoma City and a softball tournament of city employees from regional cities. …

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