Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and several members of the city council said they have no interest in giving the MAPS 3 citizens oversight board veto power over their spending decisions.
Former Mayor Kirk Humphreys, who dealt with both the MAPS and MAPS for Kids oversight boards, said Cornett’s plan to make the board an advisory panel with no real power over spending decisions is a mistake. Now that voters have approved the MAPS 3 plan, the city’s next step is to assemble the citizen’s oversight board to help with crucial decisions such as which projects are built first and exactly where they will be located. The Oklahoma City Council will decide what the oversight board will look like. Cornett said he’d like the board in place in the first half of 2010. Humphreys said three things are needed to make such a group work. "It needs to be knowledgeable enough to do the work,” he said. "It needs to be diverse enough to represent the community, and it needs to be empowered enough to make a difference.” The original MAPS oversight board made recommendations to the council but had no power to make decisions. The MAPS for Kids Trust, however, must approve all projects before any money can be spent. "The critical difference was: They could say no,” Humphreys said. "Is it really oversight or is it just window dressing? If it’s really oversight, give them the right to say no.” Ward 4 Councilman Pete White said council members are elected to make decisions on how taxpayer money is spent. Cornett agrees. "You need the elected officials to be in charge of the money that goes in and out,” Cornett said. Ongoing coverage: MAPS 3