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Tulsa voters to decide on three City Charter amendments

Matt Trotter

In less than three weeks, Oklahomans will be voting in the primary runoff elections.

Three City Charter amendments will be featured on the August 23rd ballot for those voting in Tulsa.

The proposed amendments include removing information about the mayor's salary, re-establishing residency requirements for city officials, and staggering the terms of the mayor and the city auditor.

The first amendment would delete the specific dollar amount of the Tulsa mayor's salary. That City Charter was originally written in 1989 when the mayor was paid $70,000 a year. The mayor is currently paid $105,000. That salary is decided on by city council members.

An approval of the amendment would not change the mayor's salary.

The second proposal would require those running for city council, city auditor, or mayor to live in the City of Tulsa and at least 365 days prior to the election. The amendment would also require city councilors to live in the district they serve at the time of filing for office.

City Council Chairwoman Lori Dector-Wright who represents District 7 said she's lived in southeast Tulsa for 11 years.

"If I were to move to north Tulsa, next month, does that mean I'm ready to be a city councilor for north Tulsa?" Dector-Wright asked. "No, it does not. Even though I know how to be a city councilor, I don't know that community, I haven't lived in the community."

The current City Charter requires the city auditor and mayor to live in town, but does not specify a timeline for residency.

"How can you know a community if you've only lived in it for 90 days? Or in the case of the mayor and the auditor, currently you could move in the week before filing from out-of-state, out-of-town, whatever, and put your name on the ballot." Dector-Wright explained.

The third amendment to the Tulsa City Charter would change the city auditor's term of office from two to four years beginning in December of 2026. The proposal would also stagger the city auditor's term with the mayor's four year term, so a new city auditor would be elected during the middle of the mayor's term.

Dector-Wright said this will help the auditor to better focus on the job rather than elections every two years.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Monday, August 8th. Those ballots can be requested online at the Oklahoma Voter Portal or at your local county election board.

Before making her way to Public Radio Tulsa, KWGS News Director Cassidy Mudd worked as an assignment editor and digital producer at a local news station. Her work has appeared on ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates across the country.