Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Mary Hill and the TMAPC

Sally Perez, writing under the handle "SPEREX" posted her very first forum entry over at www.tulsanow.org. Titling her topic, "City Job Giveaways," Ms. Perez apparently is hoping to whip up a high enough degree of indignation to shame Mayor LaFortune into reconsidering his withdrawal of TMAPC member Mary Hill's reappointment to the planning commission.

While I admire Mr. Perez' spirit, it is unfortunate that very little of what she writes is true. This is an unfortunate side effect we find in many citizens who rely on the Tulsa World for their facts. The average citizen isn't as aware as those who have been around awhile that there are "real facts" and "Tulsa World facts."

Here's what Mr. Perez wrote:

It is a pretty sad state of affairs when appointed, dedicated servants to this administration are set aside, in an effort to garner votes from a "fragment" of the unique culture in Tulsa. Mary Hill has generously and unselfishly served under two mayors on TMAPC for 10 years. Although challenged at times by her local vocal in council district 6, she stayed with the letter of the law, considering all of the facts and voted her conscience with integrity and honesty while upholding her commitment to serve all citizens well in this city. While at times under attack for not bending to the agenda driven desires of her constituent councilor, Mrs. Hill earned respect throughout this city for her candor, demeanor and ability to be fair in zoning issues.

Mayor LaFortune reappointed Mrs. Hill to the planning commission many weeks ago and she has appeared at two grueling city council committee meetings to answer questions by the Medlock and Mautino to justify her reappointment. Objections were heard from James Mautino, stating that he had to investigate conflict of interest and on a side bar, informed Mrs. Hill that she did not support two items during his tenure. She did not vote the way that he wanted her to. He had a "compadre" in District 5 that he wanted in her place.

Ms. Hill was to go before a committee meeting again this upcoming Tuesday, with the full support of the mayor for her reappointment and for the approval by the council, and was told to attend an affirmation by the council vote this Thursday.

On Saturday morning, like the rest of the "Tulsa World", she got notification, through the newspaper, that her appointment was sold for votes for Medlock and a TMAPC position for Bates.....the mayor had pulled his reappointment for Hill.

No phone call, no heads up...... not even an impersonal e-mail telling her that he had "re-considered"......after 10 years of service...that is despicable!

Fellow Tulsans..........this is what your time well served is worth under this current administration. For those of you who want to even think about serving, without pay, because you "truly care" about this city.......think twice. Your commission votes are only worth what your "council and mayor can buy"!
What IS true in Ms. Perez' posting?

  1. Ms. Hill has served for ten years on the TMAPC.
  2. She has served two mayors, as she was originally appointed by Susan Savage.
  3. Ms. Hill's name was sent back to the Council by the Mayor's Office for re-appointment a few weeks ago.
  4. Ms. Hill appeared before a Council sub-committee for vetting by the council, which includes possible questioning.
  5. Councilor Mautino expressed concern about Ms. Hill's reappointment to the planning commission and it was agreed to delay consideration on both her and Brandon Jackson's appointment for a couple of weeks, so that councilors could discuss their concerns with Ms. Hill away from the television cameras, where she might be unduly embarrassed.
  6. Ms. Hill was again present at today's committee meeting.
  7. Last Saturday morning, the Tulsa World wrote a story say that Ms. Hill would not be reappointed and that Michael Bates would be named in her place, apparently the result of some secret deal cut by Mayor LaFortune and myself.

These are the facts that I can atest to.

Unfortunately, just about everything else is speculation and inaccurate.

Where to begin? How about some other facts?

  1. No deal exists to put Michael Bates on the planning commission in place of either Ms. Hill or Mr. Jackson.
  2. Mr. Bates' name was mentioned in a meeting I had with the Mayor (he was teleconferencing in) as one of three possible names that I would like to see placed on the TMAPC in place of Ms. Hill.
  3. Mayor LaFortune was not aware that Ms. Hill's name had been resubmitted. Her name was sent back down by mayoral aide Karen Keith, without the Mayor's knowledge.
  4. On Thursday afternoon, Mayor LaFortune directed Sam Roop to withdraw Ms. Hill's re-appointment.
  5. A memo was received in the Council offices, from Mr. Roop, advising the Council that Ms. Hill's re-appointment was being pulled for further consideration.
  6. Mayor LaFortune chose one of the three names I suggested (not Michael Bates) and that individual was to be put through the nomination process as soon as Ms. Hill's appointment was withdrawn.
  7. I never asked Ms. Hill a single question during her committee appearance. In fact, I barely spoke except on some minor points of order.
  8. It is not the responsibility of the Council Secretary to inform nominees that their names have been pulled. That responsibility lies with the Mayor's office.

Let me also share that there were four solid votes against Ms Hill's re-appointment...that I know of.

Many feel that she has been on the commission to long and it's time for new blood.

Many thought it important to appoint someone that is sensitive to the issues raised by many of the recent contentious zoning issues. The thought is, that a voice or two might prevent future controversies.

Some were troubled by the fact that Ms. Hill signed the recall petition of Councilor Mautino last year. Such participation is her right within our political system, but let's face it. As a political appointee, hoping to get re-appointed the following year by a mayor who publicly opposed Councilor Mautino's recall, it wasn't the brightest of moves. Political appointees will and should be impacted by the consequences of their political actions.

There are several authorities, boards and commissions that need some changes in membership, if we are to begin the healing our city needs.

I think we should all thank Ms. Hill for her service to the city. Such efforts on the part of citizens can not be lauded enough.

However, it is time for new blood on the TMAPC.

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