Justin Green appointed to open Broken Arrow City Council seat
By John Dobberstein, Editor
The Broken Arrow City Council appointed Tulsa County Sheriff’s Corp. Justin Green Monday to the vacant Ward 4 seat, ending several weeks of legal drama over how the elected office should be filled.
It’s believed that Green is the first-ever African American to serve on the City Council. Nine people were interviewed by the Council for the open seat during a special meeting Monday. The spot became vacant in May when Joe Franco resigned just weeks after being elected.
“I did not have the privilege of growing up here in Broken Arrow, but got here as soon as I could,” said Green, who was sworn immediately after being appointed.
Green grew up in Cushing and was raised by a single mother, “who worked very hard to raise us with small-town values of honesty, integrity, hard work, loyalty and serving others,” he told the Council. “My mother worked multiple jobs so we could have the things we needed. We didn’t always have what we wanted, but we had what we needed. I am who I am because of her.”
Green attended Oklahoma State University and graduated with a degree in business with an emphasis in finance. He has worked as financial service analyst at Bank of Oklahoma and Bank of the West, and was employed at Worldcom when it was a Fortune 500 company
At BattleCreek Church in Broken Arrow he works with youth and children and in the ministry program, as well as security coordinator.
At the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office he supervises school resource officers, including at Broken Arrow and Union schools and Tulsa Tech. He also serves as the commander for the TCSO honor guard and team leader for the department’s peer support team.
“I continue to look for opportunities to serve those around me, my community, my neighborhood and my family. I think this is a great opportunity for that, to come in and be a voice for the people around me, to listen and to give back.”
Ward 3 Councilwoman Christi Gillespie asked Green if he was aware of any potential conflicts of interest that might exist being an employee of Tulsa County when the City Council votes on business that pertains to the county.
Green said he talked to the Tulsa County undersheriff, sheriff, Tulsa County district attorney’s office and the city attorney’s office for Broken Arrow and was told he would be exempted from such conflicts serving in a municipal role. He said the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office confirmed that is correct.
Ward 2 Councilwoman Lisa Ford nominated Green, since she had known him for more than 20 years through the law enforcement community. “I’ve always known Justin to be an outstanding man and true to his word, and he is a great candidate for this position.”
Gillespie nominated Ray Viel Jr. to be appointed to the open seat, but the motion died for a lack of a second. She felt Viel’s background most closely represented the person who had been elected to the seat in April. “He is the person who I believe fills this role the best.”
Mayor Debra Wimpee seconded Ford’s motion to appoint Green, saying she felt Green’s background and experience with municipalities was important. At-Large Council member Johnnie Parks abstained during the vote, saying he was impressed with the candidates but he still felt a special election should have been called.
Others who expressed interest in the open seat included Roy Wood, Jennifer Grossi, Wade Farquhar, Bill Bickerstaff, Oscar Ramirez and Matthew Oglesby.