Stitt ap­point­ments to date Op­ti­mism, en­ergy high­light event for Stitt

Tulsa World - - Datelines - By Randy Kre­hbiel


Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer and Sec­re­tary of Agency Ac­count­abil­ity


Sonic Corp. ex­ec­u­tive and busi­ness con­sul­tant. In newly cre­ated po­si­tion, he will be li­ai­son be­tween ad­min­is­tra­tion and state agen­cies.


Staff Chief of


For­mer staffer for U.S. Sens. Jim In­hofe and Tom Coburn and chief of staff for Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum


Gen­eral Coun­sel


Long­time Ok­la­homa City at­tor­ney


Inau­gu­ra­tions are a lot like the first day of base­ball spring train­ing. There are only pos­si­bil­i­ties and the fu­ture. The slate is clean. There are no sore knees or twitchy el­bows.

Sim­i­lar op­ti­mism and en­ergy filled the Cox Busi­ness Cen­ter ball­room Satur­day night. With gov­er­nor-elect Kevin Stitt set to be sworn in on Mon­day in Ok­la­homa City, some 1,300 peo­ple paid $150 each for a pre-in­au­gu­ral ball that was prob­a­bly the big­gest such event ever in Tulsa.

Just about ev­ery Repub­li­can of note was present, in­clud­ing Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, U.S. Sen. James Lank­ford, U.S. Reps. Kevin Hern and Mark­wayne Mullin, most statewide of­fi­cials and a host of state sen­a­tors, rep­re­sen­ta­tives and other as­sorted of­fi­cials.

Other gov­er­nors have had sim­i­lar soirees in Tulsa ahead of the “real” in­au­gu­ral ball in Ok­la­homa City fol­low­ing the swear­ing in cer­e­mony, but none this large comes to mind. Ev­ery ticket was sold, which is pretty re­mark­able for some­one who was not even a face in the crowd two years ago.

“Thank you, Tulsa,” Stitt told the as­sem­bled crowd, “we did it.”

Get­ting elected and gov­ern­ing are two dif­fer­ent things, though, and on Mon­day the en­ergy and fresh op­ti­mism of Satur­day night meets the re­al­ity. Stitt is still as­sem­bling his cab­i­net and staff while work­ing out a re­or­ga­ni­za­tion of the ad­min­is­tra­tive branch.

“I'm driv­ing my staff crazy,” Stitt said. “I'm in­ter­view­ing 10 peo­ple for ev­ery po­si­tion, and then bring­ing five of them back for sec­ond in­ter­views.”

Speak­ing to re­porters, Stitt said he is “get­ting there” in terms of com­plet­ing his team. He said he ex­pects to name sec­re­taries of health and hu­man ser­vices soon.

One prob­lem is that some of the peo­ple Stitt wants to hire would have to take sig­nif­i­cant pay cuts.

“They're not mak­ing as much as in the pri­vate sec­tor,” he said. “We've had peo­ple will­ing to give up seven-fig­ure salaries to come on board.”

But, said Stitt, there is an op­ti­mism and a sense of ur­gency bring­ing such peo­ple for­ward.

“I'm re­ally dili­gent about hir­ing the right peo­ple,” he said.

MIKE SI­MONS/Tulsa World

Ok­la­homa Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt and his wife, Sarah, ar­rive at the pre-in­au­gu­ral ball at the Cox Busi­ness Cen­ter in Tulsa on Satur­day.



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