The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

25 January 2005

Utterly board

Oklahoma County Commissioner Stan Inman is pushing for a vote this week on his proposal to eliminate the county's Budget Board, which consists of the three commissioners and the county's five other elected officials.

In his proposal, Inman pointed out several instances where the Board, he said, either exceeded its authority or acted ineptly.

Commissioner Jim Roth has suggested a home-rule ballot as an alternative: "We're still operating with an 1890 model, and if we disband the budget board, we get even closer to 1890."

And Treasurer Butch Freeman pointed out that most property-tax payments are made in the middle of the county's fiscal year, which leaves the till comparatively empty in the spring. A county lacking a budget board, he says, would have to borrow from banks to cover any shortages.

Is Inman truly unhappy with the Board's performance? Maybe. I think, though, what really has his BVDs knotted is the Board's vote last Thursday to support the addition of sexual orientation to the county's official non-discrimination policy. Jim Nimmo, who attended the Thursday session, is a bit blunter:

It appears there will be another showdown with the County Government this Wednesday, as Rinehart and Inman dissolve the Budget Board, the very device of their downfall. Is this revenge and retribution, or pretending to be an old-testament god masquerading as good government?

As I understand things, dissolution of the Board would not invalidate the nondiscrimination policy, nor would a 2-1 Commissioner vote be sufficient to establish personnel policies under state law.

And Assessor Leonard Sullivan, hardly gay-friendly, still won't support Inman and Rinehart. He remembers the county-commissioner scandals of the 1980s:

We had the biggest scandal in the history of the U.S., and we created a budget board to have accountability in county government. This would allow just two people to control the budget and be accountable to nobody. I can't believe taxpayers would stand for this.

Roth's home-rule proposal may look pretty good after all this blows over.

Posted at 7:59 AM to City Scene


...the Board's vote last Thursday to support the addition of sexual orientation to the county's official non-discrimination policy.

Oklahoma County's definition of "budget" must be waaaay different from mine. I can't think of any way this is a budget matter, unless "budget" is defined as "interstate commerce" is in federal constitutional jurisprudence.

Posted by: McGehee at 2:16 PM on 25 January 2005

Not so different, really. The Budget Board is made up of all eight elected officials in the county; if you need agreement from most of them, this is where you make your pitch. (Government here is cumbersome, which is sometimes a pain and sometimes a distinct advantage.)

Posted by: CGHill at 2:37 PM on 25 January 2005

Substitute was for "is" as needed; as of the first of July, the Budget Board ceases to exist.

Posted by: CGHill at 4:17 PM on 26 January 2005

Good ole boy cronyism AGAIN ... at least(hopefully) the electorate will see these folks for the political Neanderthal's they are ... yep, we sure do need LESS accountability ... holy cow do I LOVE Oklahoma politics ... snark, snark

Posted by: Ron at 4:38 PM on 26 January 2005