Mayor Asks Former City Attorney to Fill Post on Interim Basis

TULSA, Okla. – Mayor Dewey Bartlett announced the appointment of former City Attorney David Pauling as interim City Attorney. Pauling returns to service at the City of Tulsa, where he previously served as City Attorney for eight years from 1992 until his retirement in 2000.

Bartlett said he has asked the City of Tulsa Personnel Director to begin advertising and accepting internal applicants for the City Attorney position, which is a position defined in the Charter and selected by the Mayor. However, the hiring of a City Attorney will be delayed until February. The City Council has called for a public vote asking citizens to amend the City Charter to require that the City Attorney position be an elected post, as is the City Auditor, Councilors and Mayor. The charter amendment will be presented for a vote on a February citywide ballot. Pauling will serve until a City Attorney is either hired or elected and installed.

While in retirement, Pauling has used his time to teach 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.

Bartlett said, “David Pauling previously served our City as a stable force, providing legal advice to all elected officials, Councilors, Mayor and Auditor, and employees. He has enormous knowledge of the City Charter, which is Tulsa’s Constitution, and how it relates to our citizens. By virtue of that experience, he will be able to provide me, my administration and the Council with legal advice and opinions based on many years of expertise working with City and state law. He has worked with, and in fact hired assistant city attorneys who began their careers with the City during the 1990s. He is a man of high integrity and I am grateful to have an attorney of his caliber returning to the City to help us during this time.”

When he served, Pauling supervised 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.

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.

Serving in this capacity, Bartlett said Pauling maintained a strong and effective working relationship between the Mayor’s Office and the City Council; restructured the Legal Department and professionalized its operation; implemented contract tracking system for the Legal Department; secured payment from the City of attorney’s Bar Association dues and required Continuing Legal Education expenses.

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 Masters Degree Program for five years.

Updated 11-18-2010

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