The Town of Oologah’s regular municipal elections will include a ballot measure for residents to decide whether the office of the city clerk-treasurer should become an appointed position or remain elected.
Of eight municipalities in Rogers County, the field is evenly split between appointed and elected city clerks.
Claremore, Verdigris, Foyil and Owasso are appointed.
Chelsea, Oologah, Talala and Inola are elected.
Current Oologah Clerk and Treasurer Holly Baker requested the item be put on the ballot for a public vote and said that she would like to see it pass.
“Right now the clerk-treasurer is required to live in town limits, and that gives the citizens a very small pool to choose from,” Baker said. “It’s hard to find somebody that understands municipal finances.”
Furthermore, Baker said, the position is already an effective appointment. For more than 20 years, the position has been unopposed during municipal elections.
Changes in staff occurred when the previous office-holder resigned mid-term and a new applicant was appointed by the Board of Trustees to complete the term.
Oologah voters will have to make a decision one way or another, but other Rogers County towns are sticking to their guns.
Inola Treasurer Glennie Spurlock said, “I would much rather be elected.”
“When you are elected, you are working for the people,” Spurlock said.
Job security is tied to whether the voters approve of the job she is doing, not to the opinions of the board of trustees.
“The board can’t just fire you without cause,” Spurlock said.
Talala City and Court Clerk Dawn Orwig said she didn’t have an opinion on which was preferable.
“Usually in bigger cities like Owasso and Claremore, ones with a lot more income, they can afford to hire out the clerk,” Orwig said.
Small rural towns may have a small talent pool to draw from, but it may also take a higher salary to encourage qualified individuals to move or commute.
Oologa municipal elections will take place April 2.
If passed, the position will be appointed upon the first vacancy of the position following the election.