Leadership Changes Coming After Surprise Announcement

GIVING ANSWERS: Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor, being interviewed at the Tulsa Press Club on June 4 by members of the media after she announced that she would not seek re-election.

Speculation and rumors abound after Mayor Kathy Taylor?s surprise announcement at the Tulsa Press Club on June 4 that she will not seek re-election for a second term. Mayor Taylor has been praised for her steadfast work and accomplishments in office, including finishing work and opening the Center, groundbreaking for a downtown ballpark and a new city hall building, which will all stand as legacies of her term in office.

Tulsa Metro Chamber leaders provided the following statements at the Mayor?s news conference announcing she would not seek re-election, which includes the call for the city to change its form of government to add a city manager.

?Mayor Taylor has served as an excellent steward and ambassador for the city of Tulsa and leaves an indelible footprint on many, many great accomplishments,? said Mike Neal, Chamber president and . ?For the last four years, she has been a dedicated leader with only the benefit of Tulsa and its citizens in mind. She?s a great friend, a great partner in business and a great leader. I have no doubt she will continue to remain engaged and vocal about the future of our city. In fact, I?m going to count on it.?

In moving forward, the Chamber recognizes the need for the city to consider a reorganization of roles.

?It is timely to note the city of Tulsa should consider re-examining its form of government. Most metro cities of this size employ a city manager with a specific focus on the day-to-day activities of running a city. From a business perspective, it is impractical to have a mayor focused on both administration and representing the region as its political leader,? said David Page, Chamber chairman and market president of organ Chase and Co. ?Mayor Taylor has managed to do both admirably and is highly regarded among her peers across the nation.?

The Chamber is a non-partisan organization and does not provide comment on possible candidates for mayor, however as the leading business organization in the region, it has strong opinions on what are essential qualities in the future leader of the city. ?A strong focus on growing the economy through the retention of existing business and the attraction of new industry and a focus on the progressive development of the city, while working together with partners in the region,? said Neal. The city of Tulsa is a partner with the Chamber through annual contracts to provide services for economic development and Convention and Visitors Bureau.

As of this writing, only two candidates have declared their desire to run for mayor. They are Clay Clark, a Republican, and Robert Gwin Jr., a Republican-turned-Democrat who has unsuccessfully run for mayor. Rumors about town have civic and business leader Howard Barnett as a possible Republican candidate, as well as businesswoman and community leader Sharon King Davis as a Democratic possibility. When asked if the rumors were true, she said she is not interested.

Updated 06-15-2009

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