Why I Want to be Tulsa County Commissioner

The resignation of District 3 Tulsa County Commissioner Fred Perry has led to the upcoming June 11 primary election for his seat. The May issues of all six Newspapers featured profiles of the four Republican candidates and the lone Democrat, John Bomar. Those profiles can be seen on the eEditions at www.gtrnews.com.

In this issue of the Newspapers, the Republican candidates write why they want to be county commissioner. John Bomar is not profiled in this issue, as he does not have an opponent in the primary. He will be featured during the general election, which is scheduled for November.

I recently realized, during a Board of County Commissioners meeting, that the experience I had gained in the Tulsa County Assessor’s office best matched the challenges that would confront the person who would step in and fulfill the remaining term of Tulsa County Commissioner Fred Perry. As part of my service with the county, I have attended hundreds of board meetings and management meetings, as well as contributed to suggested language to alter state statutes. I realized that, though there are several good candidates in the race, I am the best prepared to step in and assume the responsibilities formerly handled by Commissioner Perry. Combining that experience with my 12 years of legislative service as an Oklahoma State Representative, I concluded that I should seek to continue in public service as Tulsa County Commissioner.

I am a small business owner with over 20 years experience as a residential neighborhood developer in Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow. I have substantial experience envisioning, designing and managing large-scale projects and delivering them on time and within budget.

I have also served on multiple boards and commissions, such as the Tulsa Metropolitan Planning Commission, the Infrastructure Development Advisory Board, the Transportation Advisory Board, and the Storm Water and Hazard Mitigation Board. I am the only Republican candidate with any meaningful development, area planning or municipal infrastructure experience.

I am uniquely qualified to safeguard what is going right, fix what isn’t and plan for a better Tulsa County. I believe it is best for the future of our community to elect a true businessman to manage county business.

The responsibilities of a Tulsa County Commissioner are large and varied. They include overseeing administrative responsibilities of Tulsa County, serving as a trustee on the Tulsa Industrial Authority, the Criminal Justice Authority, and the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority and serving on the board of directors for INCOG and the Metropolitan Human Services Commission.

Over the past 35 years, I have served in the Oklahoma Legislature as an executive for a major energy company and volunteered with nonprofit organizations. I believe the best commissioner is a prepared commissioner. Someone who is prepared to make tough decisions, collaborate with others and understand “servant leadership.”
I believe I am that person and humbly ask the voters in District 3 for their support, their trust and their vote on June 11.

Tulsa County is a terrific place to live. It’s a place where people can raise a family and still believe the future will be even brighter than the present. It’s a safe place, and we need to keep it that way. It’s a place where faith is still respected and celebrated. My big-picture goals as an administrator are transparency, efficiency and accountability.

I believe small businesses are the backbone of our economy. I began a business in my garage at age 26. In addition to 23 years of consistent success, we are now recognized as experts in the manufacturing industry. All organizations should pursue the same level of excellence, including county government.

If elected, I will increase transparency, efficiency, and accountability, processes that worked for my business and that will work for our local government.

About the County Commission
Although they are elected by district, county commissioners are elected to a board and as such are responsible to the county as a whole. The Board of County Commissioners is often abbreviated “BOCC.” As of this writing, the three commissioners are Fred Perry ®, John Smaligo ® and Karen Keith (D).
The following information contains a partial list of the responsibilities of the Tulsa County Commissioner.

1.The county commissioners are responsible for numerous county functions throughout the county. The meets every Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. except when holidays cause Tuesday to be the first working day of the week.

2. The county commissioners are known as the “chief administrators in county government.” (The “CEO’s of the county” as an professor put it.) They also serve a legislative function.

3. The county commission districts include all areas in the county, including the incorporated cities and towns (Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Owasso, Jenks, Glenpool, Sperry, Collinsville, Skiatook, Bixby, Sand Springs, and the unincorporated towns of Turley and Liberty.)

4. The county commission is responsible for all the county government buildings, including the courthouse. As such, they are the landlords of the judicial system, public defender and juvenile system landlords.

5. The county commission is responsible for setting personnel and human resource policies. At nearly every weekly county commission meeting the commissioners approve such matters as hiring, terminations, training and other personnel matters of county employees.

6. When someone brings legal action against any county officer or employee, the suit, by statute, is filed against the . The commissioners have the pleasure of being involved in litigation regardless of where it occurs in county operations (even involving the office of other elected officials).

7. The commissioners are responsible, by Oklahoma statute, for developing and overseeing the county budget. As a practice, in Tulsa County this is done in concert with the other county elected officials as the “Budget Board.” These elected officials are Sheriff Stanley Glanz, County Treasurer Dennis Semler, County Assessor Ken Yazel, County Clerk Pat Key and County Court Clerk Sally Howe Smith. The board is chaired by the county commission chairman. In Tulsa County, the budget is approximately $65 million. However, millions in “pass through” funds (such as federal and state grants) are approved by the .

8. Only the county commission can sell, buy or renovate county land or buildings. The county commission has the power to audit any county office, even that of elected officials. (The state audits all areas of county government each year.)

9. The county commission is required to provide court room, jail and offices for the sheriff, treasurer, district clerk, court clerk, county clerk, district attorney, juvenile bureau, court services, judge of the district court and other county functions. These include some state offices such as district attorney and public defender. All of the elected officials submit monthly reports to the county commission as dictated by statute.

10. While most of the road, bridge and highway work is done in the unincorporated areas, the county does a lot of street widening, snow plowing and asphalt overlays within the incorporated cities. Recent heavy duty street projects for example, include the widening of Yale between 61st and 71st streets, the Broadway Bridge in Collinsville and South Tulsa projects including a number of miles of overlays on 91st street, Mingo Road and Sheridan. The intersection widening at 101st and Memorial and 111th and Sheridan were done by Tulsa County construction crews.

11. Constituent service is a part of the commissioner’s responsibilities. Calls, emails and letters regarding county issues are occasionally received by the commissioners, And personal meetings take places.

12. The county commission chairman (or a designated deputy) sits on the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, the body that has a lot of responsibility regarding zoning and land use throughout the county. The Chair also is an ex-officio member of the Tulsa City-County Library Commission and has a vote on same.

13. The county commissioners also hear and vote on appeals made by those who disagree with planning commission and Board of Adjustment decisions and file an appeal.

14. The county commissioners make up the board of the Tulsa County Industrial Authority (). Bonds such as the Vision 2025 and 4-to-Fix the County bonds were/are administered through the . Bond programs by non-profits are “passed through” the but no underwriting of same is done by the .

15. The following division directors report to the county commissioners: County Engineer (road, bridges and inspections), Human Resources, Social Services (Family Homeless Shelter and pharmacy), Court Service (inmate parolee and community services supervision), Building Operations, Parks, Information Technology (IT) and Administrative Services. The Budget Director and Purchasing Director work for the entire Budge Board. The Budget Board Chairman, who is the Chair, does their evaluations, usually with input from the entire Budget Board.

16. In Tulsa County, the fairgrounds (Expo Square) is owned by the county, The three county commissioners sit on the five member board of Expo Square – an enterprise with revenue and budget of about $21 million which has a $155 million positive impact on the metro area. The board, often simply called the “Fair Board” operates separate from county operations as a trust set up in 1983 and is formally known as the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority.

17. The county commissioners interface with City-County Health, City County Libraries, the Election Board and the Juvenile Bureau on multiple issues. Juvenile and election board employees are paid by the county. Tulsa County is responsible for providing a juvenile justice center facility for the Juvenile Bureau. This includes a 55 bed detention center.

Updated 06-05-2013

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