Steve Shoup believes it’s the beginning of a new era in the city of McAlester.

“What a new day,” Shoup said this morning from Louisville, Ken., where he had traveled on business.

Shoup spoke in reaction to passage of the five provisions McAlester voters passed Tuesday to change parts of the City Charter, as well as passage of the three-quarter cent county sales tax proposition.

A citizens’ committee chaired by Shoup and co-chaired by Weldon Smith recommended the proposals to change the City Charter, which the city council then adopted and sent to a vote of the people.

“I think this proves the community is paying attention to what goes on in this city and is committed to making improvements,” Shoup said.

“The people are getting involved in city government.”

The first four City Charter propositions passed by more than 80 percent of the vote. The final one, which will extend the terms of the McAlester city councilors and the mayor from two years to four years, passed by a 75 percent margin.

During their meetings earlier this year, members of the City Charter Committee discussed the possibility of looking at another set of changes to the charter.

Shoup said that has not been decided for sure at this point.

“When I get back, I’ll have a meeting with Weldon Smith, Mayor Don Lewis and City Manager Susan Monroe,” Shoup said.

Shoup said the discussion will likely entail what would be the objectives of any additional changes which might be proposed for the City Charter.

Changes in the City Charter approved Tuesday and the margins by which they passed:

Proposition 1 passed with 88 percent of the vote. It gives the city council the power to confirm the city manager’s appointment of the city attorney and the power to fire the city attorney. Previously, the city manager had the sole power to hire and fire the city attorney. The measure also continued the provision that the city manager can be appointed and fired by the city council.

Proposition 2 passed by an 85 percent margin. It sets requirements in education and experience for the city manager. It also outlines the procedure for firing a city manager.

Proposition 3 passed by 87 percent of the vote. It spells out the duties of the city manager, including keeping the city council fully advised as to the financial condition and the future needs of the city.

Proposition 4 passed by a margin of 85 percent. It gives the city council authority to approve the city manager’s appointments of the city judge, city prosecutor and city manager.

It specifies that the city attorney can be removed by the council, while the city judge and city prosecutor can be removed by city councilors.

The meausre also specifies the duty of the city attorney, including serving as the chief legal advisor to the city council, the city manager and all city departments, offices and agencies, as well as representing the city in all legal proceedings.

Proposition 5 passed by 75 percent of the vote. It will eventually extend the terms of city councilors and the mayor to four years instead of two. The provision states that during the first city election in 2006, the mayor and council from odd-numbered wards will be elected for two-year terms and the councilors from even-numbered wards will be elected to four-year terms. At all subsequent elections, the elections will be for four-year terms.

Shoup praised the hard work of those who have worked on the citizens’ committee for the City Charter changes.

“The members of the committee should be very proud of the work they did,” he said.

Other committee members were Bob Monto, Debbie McCauley, Dorothy G. Crone, Kenneth Adkins and Barbara Smitherman.

Mayor Don Lewis, as well as city Manager Susan Monroe and former Acting City Manager Bill Rayburn also met with the committee.

Of the 13,693 voters in McAlester, only 2,011 voted in Tuesday’s election.



Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com