It was a rough day for Midwest City politics Wednesday. First, the mayor was accused of using city resources for his political campaign. Then, he had to go to court to fight for his job.
That was a fight the mayor lost, but it’s a fight that's part of a bigger battle with the city's police and fire unions over funding. The mayor is facing a recall election in February, but asked a judge to put that recall election off.
“The petition was the result of my refusal to violate the city ordinance, long story short,” said Mayor Jay Dee Collins. “And we felt it was a valid case that needed to be brought.”
But the judge turned down the request, a move the police union considers a victory.
“Citizens got out with petitions, got signatures, everything was done legally and today they’re vindicated by the judge allowing the reelection to go on”, said Detective Archie Houston with the Midwest City Fraternal Order of Police.
Meanwhile, the mayor was also accused of using city resources for his own campaign, when a statement about a community meeting was texted out to hundreds of residents by a neighborhood association director. The message said the mayor "Will answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding the upcoming election”.
The mayor insists, “I had no knowledge of that before. I didn’t tell her to do that. The first I heard, the first I read of it was when someone told me it was on Facebook.”
But the police union isn’t buying it.
“I find that hard to believe” Houston said, “How would this person know what to put on there? Who’s going to be there? What’s going to be talked about if he wasn’t involved or someone in his campaign involved?”
Bottom line, the mayor said, the unions have put a target on his back. “So now what they want to do is get rid of me to make an example for the rest of the council so they can intimidate them and come over to their side.”