Gov. Kevin Stitt has reportedly lured another City of Tulsa employee to his office.
City Coronavirus Relief Funds Program Manager Clay Holk will serve as director of a state grant management office, overseeing federal funds for pandemic response and expanding economic opportunity in Oklahoma.
Mayor G.T. Bynum confirmed Holk's departure on Friday. He praised Holk's work at the city to manage a record level of federal funding.
"There's a tremendous amount of paperwork that goes into it and oversight, as there should be, but Clay has been the guy at the City of Tulsa for tracking all that and making sure that it's spent responsibly. And we're, on the one hand, sorry to lose him but thankful that we'll have somebody of his talent working over the state's efforts in this regard," Bynum said Friday.
In a statement, Holk thanked Bynum for the opportunity to lead Tulsa's pandemic response and recovery. He also thanked city staff for their hard work and expertise and city councilors for their leadership.
"I have had the pleasure of working with community partners across many fields, and I am inspired by their dedication to making the lives of Tulsans better," Holk said.
Alisa Dougless, who oversees the city's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, will step into Holk's role.
Holk's move comes just after the city finalized $6.5 million in federal COVID relief funding grants to dozens of local nonprofits.
Bynum said the city still has millions in federal relief funds left to spend, including money that hasn't reached its intended target.
"Probably the greatest frustration for us has been the internet connectivity in homes. We really wanted to provide internet access and bridge the digital divide for families that don't have internet access in Tulsa, and it's the proverbial case of not being able to give it away," Bynum said.
Holk holds a master's of business administration from the Kellogg School of Management and a master's in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Stitt hired Bynum's former deputy mayor, Michael Junk, as his chief of staff in November 2018. Junk left Stitt's office in July 2020, citing the strain of a commute from Tulsa with young kids at home.
The governor's office did not respond to requests for comment Friday.