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September 23, 2017

Unanimous Vote for New Mayor


Most of the action at the Luther Town Board and Luther Public Works Authority Special meetings December 16, 2015, was behind closed doors. The board, with its new attorney, Bryan Drummond, entered into three executive sessions.

Luther Town Board and town attorneyBefore going into those private sessions on personnel matters, the new attorney gave an opinion on the matter of the town mayor. It was back in October when Trustee Lea Ann Jackson moved to strip Mayor Birlene Langley from her mayoral title. That action was taken up during the “new business” part of what had been a contentious meeting with one town board member alleging racism, and another saying he was afraid for his personal safety.

Drummond’s first public act as town attorney was to state his legal opinion on the mayoral issue comparing it to an “at-wlll” employee that serves at the pleasure of elected officials. He said there are no other cases or attorney general opinions on the matter, and based his opinion on state law.

“It is my legal opinion that the Board of Trustees can vote to remove its mayor at any time and then appoint another one to fill the remainder of the unexpired term, which in this case, is sometime in 2017,” said Drummond.

Promptly, the trustees voted unanimously on a motion naming Lea Ann Jackson as mayor.

“I was surprised and am very glad. More than anything, I want us to work together. I think we are all starting to look at things that are best for the town, not a particular faction, but the town as a whole,” said Mayor Jackson. The Luther mayor is not a paid position, but the mayor helps set the agenda, and runs the meetings.

In her day job, Jackson is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the Oklahoma Bankers Association. She is a certified public accountant and a certified association executive, as well as a licensed insurance agent.  She served on the Governor’s Task Force for Recovery after the May 3, 1999, tornado and was a finalist for The Journal Record Woman of the Year in 1999, according to the OBA website.

Back to executive sessions, the first session was “to discuss the employment, performance and possible disciplining, including but not limited to possible termination/dismissal of Laura McCuddy, Town Clerk/Treasuer and Marcus Thurman, Police Chief.”

Neither was fired. Back in public session, the trustees voted to put a disciplinary document in each employee’s file. No one will talk on record about the issue, but Mayor Jackson expressed confidence in both McCuddy and Thurman.

“I am absolutely confident in our public safety. It’s not about his conduct as a police officer, it’s more of an administrative nature,” said Jackson. She also said McCuddy, in the job since May, is doing a good job and is participating in training for her role.

Convened later as the LPWA, the board met in executive session one more time and returned to vote for the immediate firing of Michael Jackson who worked in the town’s maintenance department. Both Langley and Ron Henry abstained from that vote.

Mayor Jackson is already looking forward to the January meeting and some strategic planning in 2016.

“I like the idea of us brainstorming together to come up with the top issues. If it means we hire someone to write a grant to help us get a new water tower, at least we’re all agreed and moving in the same direction, and not in crisis management,” she said.

 

4 Responses “Unanimous Vote for New Mayor”

  1. Debbie Bradley
    December 17, 2015 at 5:24 am

    I will never stop shaking my head at how Mrs. JACKSON can fire someone, and take over their position acting like this is a kids board game. The very same Mrs.Jackson that didn’t even want to be on the board if Birlene Langley remained as mayor. I am seeing how 3 board members think they are so smart and look at what they have done. Dang don’t they think the people of Luther are smart enough to see thru their game playing. This is not personal, this is not a game. Our town suffered at the hands of wrong doing. The clean up is still going on. What dramatic act will you come up with next to keep you entertained? What is truly from the heart will still be there long after you get board and move on. I am thankful that two of the board members remember the purpose they serve. Unanimous takes on a whole new meaning when this board votes what they want personally instead of what the community in whole was asking for.

    • Lea Ann Jackson
      December 17, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Ms. Bradley,
      I appreciate your right to share your opinions. I would note that they are extremely critical. I don’t think we have ever met. I assume you are relying on representations by others, which may or may not be factual, or assumptions. As I have indicated on at least two occasions, I am happy to meet with anyone to address their concerns or questions. I specifically extend this invitation to you. Until you have made the effort to gather all the facts, is it fair to criticize? There are two sides to every ‘story’. Have you considered both?

  2. Concerned Citizen
    December 17, 2015 at 6:26 am

    I would like to know why Michael Jackson was fired. He’s done a great job for this town. Saved them several thousand dollars. Sounds odd that he was fired with no past written or verbal reprimand?

    • December 17, 2015 at 9:13 am

      He was not at the meeting for me to ask him. I would love to visit with him about that if he wants to give me a call. 405-888-9946. No one is allowed to talk about personnel matters, especially to the media! But he can talk all he wants. Thanks.

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