Council election postponed until June 30

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

The city of Pawhuska will not hold the general election for the at-large seat on the city council on April 7, as originally scheduled. The election has been postponed until June 30. That’s one more thing residents can cease to be concerned about as they focus their energy on staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, city hall, the community center, the library and the fitness center are closed. The city has an interim city manager in Tonya Bright, and an interim police chief in Lorrie Hennesy.

Bright said Thursday morning, March 26, that Pawhuska city hall is now closed to routine public access. Residents can pay utility bills via telephone, place payments in a drop box, or pay online through xpressbillpay.com, she said.

City government will work with any utility customers having trouble paying their bills, Bright said. She emphasized that customers who need assistance should contact the city and talk to someone.

The phone number for city hall is 918-287-3040. The automated answering service provides callers with a choice of which city office they want to reach. Again, if you need help, call, Bright said.

She added that appointments can be made for customers who have needs such as switching over utilities.

Bright confirmed Wednesday morning of last week to the Journal-Capital that she had terminated Police Chief Nick Mahoney. She declined to comment about the reason or reasons for the change.

Mahoney on Tuesday afternoon, March 24, confirmed he had been dismissed. He said that he had enjoyed working in Pawhuska. Mahoney is the fourth Pawhuska police chief to leave the job in a little under 18 months, either voluntarily or involuntarily. He had been chief a little over a month.

Officer Lorrie Hennesy has been named interim chief, Bright said. Hennesy was also interim chief after the termination of Nick Silva, who was chief before Mahoney.

In other city-related business, the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce has postponed its annual gala until Aug. 22, and Chamber exec Joni Nash said that travel and preparations for planned public meetings regarding the filming of a movie in the Pawhuska area based on David Grann’s book “Killers of the Flower Moon” have ceased. Nash said there had been official word about the status of the movie, but she took that as a sign everything is on hold.