Laura Teague to provide city manager services to Pawhuska
The Pawhuska City Council on June 23 agreed to enter into a contract with Laura Teague for city management services.
Teague will be an independent contractor rather than a city employee.
The vote was 4-to-1. Councilors Mark Buchanan, Rodger Milleson, Roger Taylor and Steve Tolson voted in favor of the arrangement. Councilor Susan Bayro cast the lone “no” vote.
The Council on June 16 had interviewed Teague, who had previously served as a county commissioner in Morgan County, Colorado; Bill Sweeden, who is a former Osage County commissioner; and Raymond Red Corn, who has been assistant principal chief of the Osage Nation. The Council made no decision that night, but returned to the subject on the evening of June 23. Following another executive session, councilors voted.
Teague, 53, and her family recently relocated to this area from Colorado. They have purchased property, including parcels in the downtown Pawhuska commercial area.
”I appreciate the opportunity that the Council has given me,” Teague said after the Council’s June 23 special meeting. “We’ve invested a lot as a family in Osage County and I want to see Pawhuska be successful.”
Teague said she anticipated beginning her duties as interim city manager July 11. The agreement is to be for up to six months. The language of the motion on which the Council voted included a mention of a pay rate, but councilors and other city officials that the Journal-Capital talked with afterward did not agree on how to interpret the pay reference. The newspaper will revisit the question when the details have been clarified.
Bayro explained her “no” vote by saying that she thinks the departments and employees of Pawhuska city government would benefit from full-time attention on the part of a city manager, and she was under the impression that Teague might not be able to give the position full-time attention.
Councilor Steve Tolson voiced optimism about the agreement with Teague.
”I am excited and thankful that she agreed to step forward and help the city,” Tolson said. “I’m looking forward to working with her.”
The city manager job became vacant after Jerry Eubanks resigned May 26, effective May 31. Prosecutors in Kay County on May 25 charged Eubanks with three felony offenses in connection with his prior employment by the city of Blackwell. Eubanks had been Pawhuska city manager since the beginning of 2022.
In other business June 23, city councilors approved budgets for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The 2022-23 budgets for the City General Fund, the Public Works Authority and the Municipal Trust Authority all show increases for the new year, but revenues are anticipated to cover the added expense.
Councilor Tolson distributed a handout to his colleagues, showing that projected wage increases for the new year would come to $395,644, and with Social Security and retirement contribution expenses added, the total added expense of the pay hikes would be 461,519.
Tolson asked Assistant City Manager Tonya Hutson prior to the Council’s votes on the General Fund and Public Works Authority budgets whether she had confidence that revenues would cover expenses. Hutson expressed confidence that revenues would be sufficient.