Laura Teague resigns from city manager post

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Laura Teague last week resigned from the position of interim city manager for Pawhuska. Teague’s last day on the job was Friday, April 28. She had been city manager for about 10 months.

“I don’t think it’s fair for me to say specifically why,” Teague said regarding her resignation. She commented in a telephone interview Saturday, April 29. “All I would say is I really enjoyed my time there.”

Teague is a former county commissioner for Morgan County, Colorado, whose family has invested in business interests in Oklahoma and moved to this area.

Teague clarified that she hopes to remain involved with Pawhuska city government on a volunteer basis, and that she will be available to city staff members if they need or desire to call on her. Her resignation from the interim city manager position will allow her to turn her attention more fully to family business projects.

Teague said she thinks it is important to stay engaged in civic activities, and she emphasized there are no hard feelings between her and city staff members. As she spoke Saturday with the Journal-Capital, she was planning to attend the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala fundraiser that evening.

The Pawhuska City Council was scheduled to meet Monday, May 1. Normally, the Council holds its regular meeting on the second Tuesday of each month. May is different, however. In that month, as the Council acknowledges the results of municipal elections held earlier in the year, the regular meeting is on the first Monday.

The only municipal election this year was for the At-Large seat on the Council. Incumbent Councilor Steve Tolson won re-election, defeating former county commissioner Randall Jones.

The Council’s agenda for May 1 included a proposed executive session “to discuss the open position of city manager and/or hiring, appointment, or interim appointment.” The agenda also included an action item to allow the Council to potentially choose a city manager or interim city manager immediately following the executive session. In the past half-dozen years, Pawhuska has had more than a half-dozen interim city managers, full or permanent city managers, and almost city managers (there were two people the Council tried to hire who never made it as far as the first day on job).

Teague said she is concerned about the effect that continual turnover in the city manager position has on Pawhuska’s governmental staff. She described Pawhuska as a difficult place to manage. She initially agreed to be the interim manager for six months, and said that she agreed to extend her period of service to help the City Council find someone to take the manager job on a permanent (non-interim) basis.

Then came last week.

“Some things happened last week that just really made it difficult to stay,” Teague said. “I came there to help, not to get in the way of people.”

Teague said more than once in the course of a relatively short interview that she really enjoyed working with members of the city government staff, and she said that the City Council had begun to engage in activities that she found very promising. She voiced hope for planning processes that are underway – capital improvement planning, as well as comprehensive and strategic planning.