Kellyville trustees reseat board, appoint new mayor; city administrator resigns
Kellyville's July board of trustees meeting introduced a new mayor—the second in as many months.
The Kellyville City Hall was packed and all of the agendas were handed out, even though the media arrived early. Something was in the air: tension, anger, heat, reckoning. It smelled like fear and steam.
John Dunn (City Attorney), John Taylor, Ed Pruitt, Mayor Russ Howard, Beverly Lucas (Town Clerk), and Terry Voss were seated at the bench. Where was Town Administrator Mike Kelly?
The first item of business had to do with the minutes from the Special Town Meeting on June 19th, that were incorrect. The town had not sent the notice in the sewer bill that the town was going to begin “enforcing all the codes on the books,” giving all the townspeople a “heads up” to get in accord with the codes. Apparently, the bill had to be mailed separately. The City Attorney wanted to be sure the minutes reflected the true account of what happened.
Almost immediately, the Trustees went into Executive Session. The citizens speculated about the names on the agenda: Mike Kelly, former Sapulpa Assistant City Manager Rick Rumsey, and Eric Lovell.
Fifty minutes later, the answers came. Mike Kelly had resigned based on a run-in with the new town mayor, Russ Howard, who had told him to turn in several pieces of paperwork, and who was “going to write him up.” Trustee Ed Pruitt voted to keep Kelly on. Now, Kelly was gone.
The Trustees tried to name Rick Rumsey as Interim City Administrator, but it was stopped by the City Attorney who said, “We need to follow our own ordinances,” to be sure the candidates are qualified. So, the board passed to the “next regularly scheduled meeting” to find out if Mr. Rumsey might qualify by passing a drug test and physical. Again, Trustee Pruitt voted “Nay.”
Then, Eric Lovell was approved to work in Public Works, pending a physical and drug test, as well.
A citizen identified as “Leon” stood before the board and said he knew all the Trustees and they know him, and he thought this new board was “a new sweep, and there’s a lot of stuff (that) needs to be done.” He said, “How about clean ditches? Quit bickering among yourselves!”
“What you did was harassment at the workplace!”
The next item was hotly argued. It called for reading and defining the “Mayor’s and Trustees’ duties and responsibilities” even when not in session. The Mayor read, “duties: head of town government…” and two of the Trustees interrupted, saying loudly, back and forth: “What you did was harassment at the workplace! The Department Heads are to run the department, no micromanagement…Let people do the job, stop hounding them!”
The Mayor attempted to defend his actions, but Trustee Pruitt remarked that if there is an issue, “put it in Executive Session and discuss it.” Mayor Howard said all the confusion and anger was because Trustee Ed Pruitt wanted to be Mayor.
Then, Attorney Dunn spoke about adding the Trustees to the town email since if someone wanted information through the Open Meeting Act, they could sue to have whatever personal emails the Trustees were using, in court as “discoverable”. They approved that.
Back to the issue of overreach by the new Mayor, it was moved to reseat the board, meaning to call a new mayor or shuffle the other members.
Pruitt said to the Mayor, “You do whatever you want!” The Trustees all chimed in about a 30-day burn permit the Mayor allowed and said they learned about it on the “Chit Chat page” or “on the internet” but it should have been put on the agenda and discussed.
Mayor Howard retorted, “You attack me for what you think happened.”
Mayor Howard out, Mayor Voss in
Mayor Howard moved to name Ed Pruitt as Mayor, and it was voted down. Then, he asked if there was anyone else to name or was he staying in place. At that point, Terry Voss was named Mayor and voted in. Mr. Voss looked stunned. The members switched places at the bench.
Mayor Voss had a difficult time reading the agenda, stumbling on several words, losing his place and had to be prompted repeatedly. He seemed uncomfortable, mugging for the cameras and waving his arms.
First up was Chief Davis, who said he wanted to send Tyler (Stroup) to a class and wanted to know if he had to get permission from the board or could he send him with his department funds. The Board said to get a P. O. from Town Admin, not from the Board. He said the radar needs to be re-calibrated and it is about $2,400.00 for a used one. He talked about digital tickets that could be written on a laptop, a Microsoft update, a cage or half-cage for the patrol cars at about $1,000.00 each, and more drug tests.
Fire Chief Matt Staiger said his vehicles needed repairs. There were two new volunteer firemen, Tanner Boren, and Ray Carlson.
Pete Little is with the Public Works Department. He was praised by the Trustees for doing an “awesome job.” He told the board about a single-axle dump truck that he had seen advertised for $3,500.00 and that he “sure needed one.” All of the weed-whackers were inoperable. He could use more help.
Jacqueline Case is in charge of the Library. She is the only one there and is beginning to consider retiring. She could use an assistant, as well. She asked about shredding files and was given approval.
The Trustees tabled raising the price of a cemetery plot from $400 to $800 to break-even with the costs of maintaining the cemetery.
The Public Works Authority meeting and Library Board Meetings followed. These meetings lasted over two-and-a-half hours. The next meeting will be on the 13th of August at a new time, 7 p.m.
About the Author
Lottie Wilds is a native Oklahoman and a multi-talented woman—she is a mother, grandmother, Navy veteran, and lifelong creator. Lottie loves to quilt, decorate, garden, swim, paint, and write stories. She is grateful for every day she gets a chance to get it right.