Burk Hires May Conflict With City Charter

The City of Burkburnett has hired two new police officers. Some members of the City Council are crying foul.

City Manager Mike Slye approved the hire of two officers for the police department. But, some City Commissioners say they were never consulted.

Article V, section 5, subsection c of the Burkburnett City Charter, which outlines the duties and powers of the City Manager, reads: With the advice and consent of the Board of Commissioners to appoint and remove all heads of departments (except where this Charter places in the Board of Commissioners such power of appointment), and all subordinate employees of the city.

Voters in Burk recently upheld that exact language. If approved, proposition five on the May 8 ballot would have given the City Manager the authority to hire and fire without the Commissioners' consent. That proposition was voted down by the largest margin of all propositions on the 2010 ballot.

Some Commissioners feel the City Manager is over-stepping his authority. "He's supposed to come before us," said Commissioner Raymond Holland, "or these [new hires] are supposed to come before us and, at least, meet with us before being hired on."

Mayor Carl Law said councils over the years have interpreted the "advise and consent" language differently. He said he feels, with a new Board of Commissioners now in power, they should have the opportunity to decide as a whole how to handle the process. He said he wouldn't comment further until they've had that chance.

City Manager Mike Slye echoed that sentiment. He said he has not had the chance to meet with the Board of Commissioners regarding this. He said he will not comment until he has.