POSTED ON JANUARY 11, 2012:
Tulsa's new city councilors are spreading their wings
They've only been in office for a little more than a month, but Tulsa's new city council is already shaking things up -- at least a little.
To ease the burden of long days at City Hall every Tuesday and Thursday, the city councilors voted to move all their meetings to Tuesdays.
With fewer days eaten up by long meetings, councilors with full-time gigs can be effective in their civic roles and in their careers as well.
The council has also announced new "City Hall in Your Neighborhood" meetings, where the nine councilors will take meetings out of their downtown chambers and into the community.
District 5 City Councilor Karen Gilbert recently told UTW she was excited about the council's new developments. Gilbert is a mom of two and full-time Tulsa Public Schools employee, so cutting a day of council meetings out of her schedule will help her a lot, she told UTW.
The meetings will be held in each of the nine city council districts. The first meeting was held Tuesday, Jan. 10, in District 1. See our breakout box on page 14 to find a city council meeting near you.
In a welcomed change of pace, Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. will be on hand at the new neighborhood council meetings as well. Bartlett said, "This will be an opportunity for residents to talk face-to-face with their city government representatives, working with us to solve problems in their neighborhoods.
These forums will also address the comments we heard in our citizen survey earlier this year, requesting more public meetings in the council districts and improved communications from their elected officials," Bartlett said.
The mayor said that 75 percent of respondents in the KPMG study indicated they wanted more public meetings to communicate city initiatives and goings-on.
District 9 City Councilor and Council Chairman G.T. Bynum echoed Bartlett's sentiment. "The energy to move Tulsa forward isn't just going to come from inside City Hall," he said.
"We need the ideas and the feedback of our fellow Tulsans and this is a great opportunity for that. As councilors, we are looking forward to joining Mayor Bartlett in our districts and bringing City Hall to the citizens in their neighborhoods," Bynum said.
At the meetings, Tulsans can talk to the mayor, their district councilor (or the district councilor's rep), city of Tulsa department heads and staff, and ask questions (and hopefully get a good answer) on city services and programs that have a direct or indirect impact on their lives.
Representatives from the city's customer care center and Working in Neighborhoods program will be on hand to take reports of problems and concerns and generate service orders right then and there.
The city council is reaching out to Tulsans through social media, too. Want to suggest some ideas or meeting topics beforehand? Just post on the council's Facebook page at facebook.com/tulsacitycouncil. Let your voice be heard on Twitter by adding "#CityHall2U" or sign up for an email newsletter through the council's website, tulsacouncil.org.
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