Mayor G.T. Bynum says he wants to unite Tulsa and make it a great city again.
His campaign and his new staff is a mixture of moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats.
Unfortunately for Bynum, actions speak louder than words.
One of the most powerful aspects of the mayor’s office is the appointment of members to authorities, boards and commissions. Bynum unleashed more than 50 nominations in December and guess what, there is no substantial change from the appointments of previous mayors. In fact, Bynum put ex-Mayor Dewey Bartlett and ex-Mayor Kathy Taylor on that list.
What is more telling is the geographic makeup of Bynum’s nominations.
The vast majority are from Midtown and Downtown.
What this signals is that nothing substantive will change in Tulsa’s liberal city government. Almost 70 percent of his nominations are from three council districts – District 4 (Downtown and Midtown), District 9 (Midtown and Brookside) and District 8 (far South Tulsa). There is not a single nomination from District 3 and District 6 in Northeast Tulsa and East Tulsa.
So much for a new beginning from Mayor Bynum.
These appointments have to be approved by the council and that will be automatic. Powerful leaders in Tulsa’s shadow government make sure that their hand-picked lackeys are whoever the sitting mayor nominates (see Leadership Tulsa).
God forbid if a councilor or councilors question any nomination. Several years ago, former Councilors Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino dared to question a nominee’s conflict of interest. He was confirmed anyway and Medlock and Mautino were hit with a recall vote (which they survived).
In office about a month, Mayor Bynum has shown that he is an expert in blowing smoke. His job is to maintain the status quo and please the chamber. So far, he has done just what they wanted him to do.