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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Detachment proposal carries

  • A proposal for a charter amendment requiring a vote by citizens to approve detachment of territory under specific circumstances carried at the Monday night Shawnee City Commission meeting.
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  • A proposal for a charter amendment requiring a vote by citizens to approve detachment of territory under specific circumstances carried at the Monday night Shawnee City Commission meeting.
    The item, proposed by Commissioner Keith Hall and tabled from the June 16 commission meeting, garnered opposing views before its passing.
    Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett criticized the motion during time allotted for citizen participation, stating the Oklahoma Constitution guarantees state citizens the right to initiative and referendum.
    “If you pass this charter, you will be denying the citizens this fundamental right, the initiative and petition,” he said.
    Barrett said the item was nothing more than retaliation and alluded to the issue’s timing.
    “That’s all you’re trying to do here, is preempt the vote of a newly-seated city commission majority and the city will not take it,” he declared.
    City commissioner-elect Lesa Shaw also spoke in reference to local Native American tribes.
    “As a city, we need to look to them as partners; that we give to them and attribute to them the rights that they have earned and that they have learned how to evolve to,” she said. “They’re not asking for anything other than what has been granted to them through statue.”
    To Hall, Shaw proposed the formation of an annexation/de-annexation committee. Commissioner Pam Stephens expressed support for a committee, maintaining the topic requires careful consideration.
    “I hate to see this commission start alienating our partners within the region,” she said in opposition of the amendment. “The ramifications of something like this are huge and I hate to see mistakes made that are going to impact, not only tribes, but neighborhoods, various property owners and the citizens of Shawnee as a whole.”
    Hall argued the vote should be left to citizens, not four commissioners. Commissioner Linda Agee disagreed, stating a vote to the public would complicate the issue.
    “My concern is that a change of this magnitude could have some unintended consequences for the city, and also for those residents who reside in the area to be detached,” she explained.
    Agee noted the assumption that proposal alternatives, presented by city attorney Mary Ann Karns, do not allow the public an opportunity to vote is false.
    “If we simply changed the ordinance to eliminate the emergency clause, the citizens in the territory to be de-annexed would have 30 days to petition for an election of the general public,” she detailed.
    Hall continued with a second, related motion, which asserts when land is detached by a vote, the city is entitled to reimbursement for public improvements that have been made to the land being detached.
    Page 2 of 2 - Hall, Commissioner James Harrod, Commissioner Steve Smith and Mayor Wes Mainord voted in favor of both motions, trumping votes of opposition from Agee and Stephens.
    Also on the agenda was the opening of bids for the rehab concrete streets project. Three submitted bid were revealed, but staff recommended the item be deferred for further assessment.
    An executive session addressed potential claims, litigation or other options regarding City of Shawnee v. International Union Police Associations, Local No. 3 and Jon Arnett. The session also included discussion pertaining to evaluations of the city manager and city attorney. No action was taken on either item.
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