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Oklahoma Ethics Commission hires new director

Lee Slater, who headed up the agency that oversees Oklahoma's elections from 1971-88, has been hired as the Oklahoma Ethics Commission's executive director. The commission hasn't yet made a decision on hiring a general counsel.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: January 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm •  Published: January 12, 2013
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Slater was a political reporter for the Tulsa World in 1971 when he was named secretary of the Oklahoma Election Board.

He served 17½ years in that post. He earned a law degree during that time and resigned in 1988 to join a law firm.

During his tenure as state Election Board secretary, Slater launched a comprehensive program that led to mandatory training for 15,000 election officials, including county and precinct officials and voter registrars.

He was instrumental in the 1974 rewriting of all Oklahoma's election laws for the first time in state history, and he developed voter information programs.

Along with his service as Election Board secretary, Slater served as secretary to the state Senate. The secretary of the Senate is elected by the Senate every two years. With it goes the job of Election Board secretary.

After Slater starts work next month at the Ethics Commission, he can start hiring employees. The agency, which had five employees, is down to two workers.

Ethics Commission members and Slater met for about four hours in closed, executive session to interview six applicants for the post of general counsel. No decision was reached.

Pettigrew said commissioners have narrowed the field to two or three. All six are from Oklahoma, she said. About 60 applied for the post.

Commissioners, who started the process to hire an executive director and a general counsel in November, aren't scheduled to meet for another month. Pettigrew said they may call a special meeting to discuss the applicants further and vote on filling the post.

“We wanted to take a little more time to check some references,” she said. “We waited this long, we want to do it right.”