McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

March 8, 2014

City council to take action to fill vacant Ward 4 seat

McALESTER — McAlester city councilors are set to begin the process to fill the now-vacant Ward 4 council seat — first by formally declaring the seat vacant and then by considering a resolution to set a special election date.

McAlester city councilors are set to meet in regular session at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall.

The Ward 4 seat is now vacant because former Ward 4 Councilor Robert Karr didn’t seek re-election on Tuesday and no other candidates filed for the post.

City councilors can’t simply appoint someone to fill the post, because the next regular election for the office is not until 2018 — hence the need to call the special election  to fill the seat.

Prior to any votes Tuesday night, the city plans to swear Ward 2 Councilor John Titsworth into a new four-year term in office. Titsworth didn’t draw an opponent for the city election held last Tuesday, so he automatically won the Ward 2 seat.

Meanwhile, what will be in effect a runoff election between Cletis Lowe Jr. and Jason Barnett is expected to be held April 1. Neither of the Ward 6 city council candidates got the required 50 percent-plus one votes in the three-candidate race held last Tuesday.

City councilors appointed Barnett in January to fill the unexpired term of Sam Mason, who resigned in December and whose seat was up for election last Tuesday.

Other items on the agenda for the Tuesday night meeting are:

• Discussion and possible action on a motion to approve the purchase of firefighter bunker gear, at a cost not to exceed $6,000, with funds to be used from the McAlester Fire Department’s portion of a county quarter-cent sales tax for fire services.

• Discussion and possible action on expenditures relating to the MFD, a motion to approve replacement of the city’s 2001 Ford E-350 ambulance at an approximate cost to the city of $150,000.

City councilors are also set to consider and act upon the following items:

• A recommendation from the McAlester Cemetery Board to expend Cemetery Perpetual Care funds to purchase two zero-turn mowers, a roof replacement for an office building, trees for the cemetery grounds and funeral set-up supplies.

• A budget amendment ordinance reflecting recent financial activity regarding the city.

• Consider and act to approve an agreement with software provider Tyler Technologies to provide products and services and to authorize the mayor to sign a recommended change by the city attorney.

City councilors are also set to meet in a secret closed-door executive session to discuss negotiations concerning city employees and representatives of the employee groups the International Association of Firefighters and the Fraternal Order of Police.

In addition to the regular agenda items, several items are on the city’s consent agenda. That means all of the items can potentially be approved by a single vote of the council, unless a city councilor asks that a specific item be pulled for discussion.

In addition to considering approval of minutes from the Feb. 25 regular council meeting and claims for Feb. 18 through March 4, items on the consent agenda include:

• Concur with mayor’s re-appointment of the following individuals to the city Planning Commission.

Mark Emmons, John McNally, Justin Few and Harvey Bollinger, for terms to expire May 31, 2017.

Also, a re-appointment of McNally to the Board of Adjustment for a term to expire March 31, 2017.

• Consider and act upon authorizing the mayor to sign an agreement between the city of McAlester and MegaPath for providing local and long distance calling services.

• Ratify and approve a one-year agreement between the city of McAlester and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Co. for a private road-crossing license.

• Ratify and approve a one-year agreement between the city of McAlester, the McAlester Public Library Board and the Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma relating to the use of part of the premises for administrative officers and a service center.

• Tabled from a previous meeting, consider and act upon approving Addendum No. 6 to the water purchase contract between the city of McAlester and Oklahoma State Penitentiary and authorizing the mayor to sign the document.

• Tabled from a previous meeting, consider and act upon approving Addendum No. 6 to the water purchase contract between the city of McAlester and Rural Water District No. 6 and authorizing the mayor to sign the document.

The city council meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall. City council meetings are open to the public.

Contact James Beaty at

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