Kirk appointed to Pawhuska City Council, sworn in Monday

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
Kirk appointed to Pawhuska City Council, sworn in Monday

Garen Kirk is addressed as “Doc” by some Pawhuskans and “Coach” by a whole lot more. He can now be called “Councilman,” as well.

The local chiropractor was sworn in Monday as the Pawhuska City Council’s Ward 2 representative. Kirk will fill the seat that’s been vacant since Cathy Worten resigned in August.

Following unanimous, 4-0, approval of the appointment, current council members and city staff expressed their appreciation to Kirk for accepting the position.

“I’m glad we’ll be getting new insights and hearing some new thoughts,” Mayor Roger Taylor said.

Acting City Attorney W. Robert Wilson, who presided over the swearing-in ceremony, said he was pleased someone was found for the post.

“It’s nice to see people in the city step up when the need is there,” said Wilson.

Kirk said he appreciated the opportunity to serve the community he has come to call his home.

“I’ve been here seven years and I don’t ever plan to leave,” the new councilman said. “I love Pawhuska.”

Since arriving in town, Kirk and his family have made quite an impact. He has won several state championships as a youth baseball coach. Earlier this fall, Kirk assisted with coaching the Lady Huskies softball team at Pawhuska High School — for which his daughter, Keylee, is a player. His son Cameron was an All-State athlete at PHS and a younger son, Easton, is a seventh-grade rising star.

Worten resigned the seat in the wake of a local controversy involving the handling of a drunk-driving arrest involving her husband, former City Attorney Jesse Worten III. Fallout from those events also led to the retirement of longtime City Manager Paul McAlexander.

McAlexander is still facing a misdemeanor charge of obstructing an officer for allegedly telling local police not to arrest Worten following a July 3 traffic mishap. Worten resigned as the city attorney earlier this month after originally being placed on a medical leave of absence by McAlexander.

Earlier in Monday’s meeting, council approved the placement of an advertisement with the Oklahoma Municipal League seeking applications for a city manager. McCartney, the director of the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce, accepted appointment to the position with the understanding that the city would later seek to find a permanent replacement for McAlexander.

Also on Monday, Council members expressed general support to At-Large Councilwoman Cindy Tillman’s suggestion that the city “re-visit” its non-decision on an Osage Nation request to close a portion of Grandview Avenue as part of a realignment of the city street in connection with the tribe’s $25-million plus campus improvement plans.

On Oct. 6, following a public hearing at which considerable opposition was heard to the Grandview proposal, council members declined to take action on the Osage proposal. Wilson informed council members that reconsideration of the street issue will require “going back through the same procedures as last time” and scheduling another public hearing.

“I’ll get the paperwork done,” Wilson told the council.