If you’ve lived in one state your whole life before moving to Oklahoma City, then you’re used to seeing your city government act in certain ways. Maybe your mayor had a lot of power and you didn’t have a city manager. Maybe you had two people representing every ward in the city. Whatever the case, you should get caught up on how Oklahoma City’s government works.
Oklahoma City is divided into eight geographical areas called wards. If you think about the city’s shape, there’s really a big X connecting four wards, then four other wards straight down the center. Like legislative districts, the wards are divided by population. Each ward elects one person to serve one four-year term on the City Council. Do you know who represents your Ward?
Think of your Council representative as your voice in city government. If an issue arises that you think should be addressed, or you see an important vote coming up before the council, call or e-mail your Council person to let he or she know how you feel about it. Now, if there’s a pothole to fix or a light that needs to be replaced, report that to the Action Center.
Besides your Council person, two other key people to know in city government are Mayor David Holt and City Manager Craig Freeman. Holt is the ninth vote during council proceedings. He enjoys interacting with residents via Twitter. Freeman does not get a vote; rather, he’s the city’s chief administrative official. He oversees the books and makes sure the city’s staff are well managed, among other duties.
If you want to keep up with all the events happening at City Council, including if your representative is hosting a public meeting, sign up to get city e-mails. You can also watch council meetings live on the City’s YouTube channel or public access TV station.