Jim Twombly and Clay Bird, two of the leading figures in Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s administration, confirmed Monday that they will not be part of Mayor-Elect G.T. Bynum’s administration.
Bynum, who defeated Bartlett in the June 28 election, will be sworn in Dec. 5.
Twombly broke the news to department heads this morning in an email.
“Though it is mid-October, so much of what we do either has implications well into the future or we are already planning for things that will occur after Dec. 5th, just keep in mind I will not be around after that,” Twombly wrote.
Bird, director of The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, said he is planning to go into business with his brother after he leaves his job with the city in December. Bird said he has not discussed his plans with Bynum.
“I think it is a good time for me to be moving on,” Bird said. “I have felt a lot of fulfillment and gratitude about the time I have worked at the city. Hopefully, I have helped make this a better place.”
Twombly and Bird are among eight at-will employees in the Mayor’s Office who work at the pleasure of the mayor. Those employees have none of the protections provided classified service employees.
Bynum said Monday that he let the Mayor’s Office know two months ago that he was planning to go in a different direction regarding staffing. One possible exception, stated at that time, was Twombly, Bynum said.
“We were looking for different alternatives (for Twombly), but when it came right down to it, it just wasn’t the right fit,” Bynum said. “I think very highly of Jim. I think he is a very sharp guy and is a consummate professional.”
One reason Twombly isn’t sticking around is because Bynum does not plan to hire a city manager.
“I feel like the day-to-day management of the city under our charter is fairly clear that that falls with the mayor, and I take that responsibility personally,” Bynum said.
Twombly, 63, said he learned last week that he would not be rehired.
“I wouldn’t trade this time at the city for anything,” he said. “I think we started a lot of very good things, and I think we made a lot of improvements and progress.”
Twombly, 63, volunteered in Mayor Kathy Taylor’s office in 2009 after he was not rehired as city manager in Broken Arrow. Bartlett, elected later that year, then hired Twombly as city manager.
Twombly earns $160,576 a year, according to city records.
Bird, 55, was a city councilor from 2000 to 2002. He held several positions, including chief of staff, in former Mayor Bill LaFortune’s administration. He assisted LaFortune’s successor, former Mayor Kathy Taylor, in her transition into office. Taylor later named Bird executive director of the Tulsa Industrial Authority.
Bird replaced Mike Bunny as the city’s economic development director and became the director of the The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development in 2014 as part of a reorganization. He earns $140,000 a year.
Bynum said he plans to keep The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development in place but under different leadership.
Bynum said he plans to announce his entire staff in mid-November. So far, he has hired three people. Jack Blair, the City Council’s policy analyst, will serve as Bynum’s chief of staff. Amy Brown, Bynum’s former City Council aide, will be deputy chief of staff. And Bynum’s campaign director Michael Junk will be deputy mayor.
Bynum said his decision to begin his administration with new staff in the Mayor’s Office reflects what he believes was the “clear mandate for change” that came out of the June 28 election.
“But at the same time, we want to be respectful of those people’s careers and give them a chance to find work elsewhere,” he said.
Bartlett’s other at-will employees include: David C. Autry, mayor’s assistant/constituent services; Jarred Brejcha, mayor’s assistant/chief of staff; Robert Gardner, mayor’s assistant/river development; Jaimie Nussbaum, mayor’s assistant/scheduler; Pam C. Rosser, mayor’s assistant/authorities, boards and commissions; and Lloyd G. Wright, mayor’s assistant/press secretary.