Council to begin manager selection process

Robert Smith

The Pawhuska City Council was scheduled to consider beginning the process this week of selecting a new city manager. The council’s agenda for a special meeting Tuesday, July 21, reflected the possibility of an executive session to review applications for the manager position.

Dave Neely resigned March 13 as city manager, and City Clerk Tonya Bright has been serving as the interim city manager. This is Bright’s second stint as interim city manager. She previously filled the manager’s chair following the departure of Larry Eulert, who also had been an interim city manager.

The move to begin considering applicants for city manager follows closely after the conclusion June 30 of the election for at-large city councilor. Steve Tolson defeated incumbent At-Large Councilor Rodger Milleson, and Tolson took office July 14. The council now consists of Roger Taylor, Mark Buchanan, Jourdan Foran, John Brazee and Steve Tolson. Taylor has been chosen by his peers to continue as mayor.

In business conducted last week, the council approved changing billing companies for Pawhuska EMS. The new company is Mediclaims Inc., and company Vice President Tammy Campbell told Pawhuska councilors that the firm will charge 7% of what it collects. City government had been paying its previous EMS bill collector 10%, and was unhappy with that company’s performance.

John Heskett, Pawhuska’s city attorney, said that Nowata city government, which he also represents, uses Mediclaims and is happy with it.

The council also decided last week to move ahead with an insurance claim regarding the Pawhuska Fire Department’s ladder truck.

Tonya Bright explained that the city bought the used ladder truck at auction for some $39,000. The Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group (OMAG), which handles insurance on the truck, listed its cash value as $42,250. Bright said there has been fracturing on the frame of the truck. If the truck were to be declared a total loss, the city could spend $4,500 on a salvage title and then spend $36,000 to repair the truck. Once the truck passes an inspection, OMAG would insure it for liability only, she said.

Councilors decided to move ahead with totaling out the ladder truck and purchasing the salvage title. The city had already received one repair quote for the truck — that offered price being $38,980. Bright said city government would be seeking additional repair quotes.