Coweta city manager resigns, former manager’s recruitment firm surfaces
By John Dobberstein, Editor
Coweta City Manager Roger Kolman has submitted his resignation, making it the second city manager to exit the job in the last 5 years.
The Coweta City Council met Monday night to discuss the resignation, which happened Sept. 11, to discuss severance pay due to Kolman according his employment contract with the city. The Council also heard from a recruitment firm that may help with the search, and its director is a familiar name to Coweta officials.
The firm placed on the agenda for consideration is Oklahoma Municipal Management Services. The director is Steven Whitlock, who was fired as Coweta’s city manager in 2017.
OMMS’ staff includes not only Whitlock, but former city treasurer Brittany Long, former Coweta code compliance officer and building inspector Jim Loller and former building inspector Simon Williams.
OMMS’ board includes city managers or administrators for several municipalities, including Yukon, Hobart, Prague, Mustang, Hobart, Glenpool and Broken Arrow.
OMMS says it helps provide municipal management services that assist with the operations of Oklahoma municipalities who have elected to participate. The services include but are not limited to management assistance, studies, work sessions, and analysis of operations.
A number of residents took to social media Tuesday to question OMMS’ involvement in the search process given Whitlock’s dismissal by the city, although the contract to hire OMMS apparently hasn’t been signed yet.
Mandy Vavrinak, a spokesperson for the city, said there is no interim city manager at this time and the city has no comment on “actions the Council may or may not take.”
Whitlock was terminated in 2017 as Coweta’s long-time city manager on a 3-2. Two city councilors who immediately resigned criticized the move, telling the Tulsa World the removal was a “witch hunt.” Councilors Steve Sinclair and Randy Woodward and Mayor Evette Morris voted in favor of Whitlock’s termination, according to media reports at the time.
The Sentinel has reached out to Whitlock for further comment and we’ll update this story when new information comes in.