Mayor Dewey Bartlett filed a request this week calling for residents to determine whether Tulsa officers will receive a pay increase.
Bartlett filed the request Thursday at the city clerk's office in downtown Tulsa. This is after an arbitration ruling granted a permanent salary increase in favor of the Fraternal Order of Police.
"By requesting the special election, I acknowledge the City is not in the financial position to support a permanent wage increase," Bartlett added in a statement. "Invoking this process is in the best interest and welfare of the City-wide departmental operations and obligations, and especially in the best interest and welfare of our tax payers."
Bartlett added that the City of Tulsa cannot "afford an ongoing expense of over $1 million" during negotiations to help reduce the budget by $17 million. Previous reports state that 215 positions have already been affected.
If the special election is approved, residents in Tulsa will then decide on the salary increases. According to the Police and Fire Arbitration Act of the State of Oklahoma, Bartlett can call for an election if the City of Tulsa does not agree with a ruling.
"I continue to appreciate and commend the hard work and dedication of our Tulsa police officers. However, we have to be realistic in our current financial situation. During negotiations with FOP bargaining team, the City of Tulsa negotiated in good faith and offered a one percent, one-time stipend to police officers. I urge the FOP leadership to continue to negotiate with the City of Tulsa, so we may come to an agreement that does not impact the financial integrity of the city and avoid taking a vote to the citizens of Tulsa," Bartlett stated.