Bartlett Campaign Asks Taylor to Apologize for Recent Ad - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Bartlett Campaign Asks Taylor to Apologize for Recent Ad

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Mayor Dewey Bartlett's campaign spoke out Tuesday about Taylor's recent crime advertisement. The television segment addresses the controversial police lay-offs under his administration in 2010.

The advertisement begins by saying, "Dewey Bartlett fired 124 police officers just to make a political point."

"The finances of the city were in very rough shape, and Bartlett did all he could to keep the city workers and give them a fair chance to keep their jobs," said Bartlett's campaign manager Dan Patten. He said Taylor's administration had depleted the rainy day fund and Bartlett immediately had to make $10 million worth of cuts upon entering office.

Bartlett laid off 124 police officers. He re-hired 35 of them when he received a federal grant. Taylor's campaign said Taylor had asked for a grant in 2009. A spokesperson said Bartlett only had to accept what Taylor had fought for but failed to do so.

Patten said city employee Stuart McCalman had formerly worked for Taylor and then worked for Bartlett when the lay-offs happened. Patten said McCalman admittedly did not give Bartlett all the information he needed about the grant situation.

The grant to bring the 35 workers back came about a month after the lay-offs. The lay-offs had cost the city about $300,000 in severance.

Bartlett said, "We were in a bad place, so we had to make some tough decisions and we did." 

Taylor said in a statement: "It's unfortunate that Mayor Bartlett continues to try and escape accountability for his actions in office. The facts could not be any clearer on this issue. The mayor played politics with public safety and laid off 124 police officers, those are the facts. It's time to get back to basics in Tulsa and that starts with a change in leadership at City Hall."

Former mayoral candidate Bill Christiansen was a city councilor when the lay-offs happened.

"He didn't have to lay them off and I think he is misrepresenting the facts when he says that she is misrepresenting the facts, because she's not. Because I was there," Christiansen said.

Christiansen added that he thought there was tension between Bartlett and police at the time.

"He wanted it his way and when he didn't get his way, he said okay, I'm going to teach you a lesson and we're going to lay these officers off," Christiansen said.

Patten said any accusations of political motivation for laying-off officers, "couldn't be further from the truth." Patten said Taylor's advertisement misleads voters.

The election is November 12th.
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