Mayor Dewey Bartlett remembered David Pauling, who died during the night of Nov. 28 in Tulsa, as a man of high integrity who continued to face down adversity while in the interim position of City Attorney, and who worked diligently to uphold the rules and regulations of the City charter and ordinances.
“David was a man of courage who provided stability to the City Legal Department and my administration at a time when he was greatly needed,” Mayor Bartlett said. “His knowledge of the City Charter and Ordinances was second to none, and he had a tremendous understanding of how it relates to our citizens. I am grateful for his service, his ethics, his strength and fortitude. We at the City of Tulsa are saddened by this loss.”
Pauling served as interim City Attorney for Bartlett’s administration since November 2010. Pauling previously served as City Attorney for eight years from 1992 until his retirement in 2000, supervising a staff of 22 attorneys and 13 support personnel. He had management responsibility for budget planning and administration; purchasing and service contracts; risk management; telecommunications regulation and rights-of-way management; zoning/building code administration.
While in retirement, Pauling also taught Tulsa Community College classes with an emphasis on the structure and operation of the federal government, Constitution, the separation of powers and the interrelationships of the branches of government. The City Attorney, as prescribed by the City Charter, serves as the chief legal advisor to elected City officials and employees with direct responsibility for providing, supervising and managing all City legal services and accountability for prosecution and defense of all legal proceedings in which the City is a party in state and federal courts and regulatory agencies.
His City career began in 1978 when he was hired as Assistant City Attorney responsible for legal issues involving building, electrical, mechanical and zoning codes.
Pauling is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Tulsa in 1971. He is an Oklahoma Bar Association member and past president of the Oklahoma Association of Municipal Attorneys.
Pauling was the City’s lead trial counsel from 1978 until 1992, specializing in federal court police-related civil rights litigation. He instructed on the subject of police civil liability at Tulsa’s Police Academy for more than 10 years and served as an adjunct instructor in Northeastern State University’s Criminal Justice Master’s Degree Program for five years.