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Home » Oklahoma Attorney General agrees with PIKE OFF OTA that no individual may simultaneously serve three state transportation roles

Oklahoma Attorney General agrees with PIKE OFF OTA that no individual may simultaneously serve three state transportation roles

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, the Oklahoma Attorney General (OAG) published an opinion that it is illegal for Secretary Tim Gatz to serve in three state “offices,” and he must resign or be removed from two “offices.” In addition,  AG Drummond stated that when a state officer takes on the duties of a second office in violation of the dual office holding prohibition, they vacate the first office, however, even if a person vacates an office by assuming a second (or third) office, the official actions of the officer are valid, binding and enforceable.

Story from OKC Fox News February 28, 2024

In response to this opinion, effective February 28, 2024, Mr. Gatz resigned as Sec. of Transportation and as Executive Director of the OTA and was reappointed by the Governor as Director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT). ODOT/OTA Statement

Oklahomans for Responsible Transportation (ORT) has been vigorously engaged with our legislature since Fall of 2022, pressing the issue of the legality of individuals holding multiple state offices. This advocacy began with our compelling policy statements, following two highly impactful interim studies. We are pleased that Senator Mary Boren acted on our policy recommendation and requested an official Attorney General Opinion on the legality of one person holding multiple state offices.

 

Amy Cerato, President of ORT, finds reassurances in the effectiveness of ORT’s advocacy, as demonstrated by the published opinion.  “In September 2022, we addressed the issue of one individual simultaneously holding three state offices during our interim study with the Senate. From the outcomes of that interim study, our core policy principles highlighted the necessity for distinct individuals to occupy the roles of Secretary of Transportation, Executive Director of ODOT, and Executive Director of OTA, ensuring proper governance. We are gratified by Senator Mary Boren’s endorsement of our policy statement and her commitment to seek an official opinion from the Attorney General, recognizing it as the sole avenue to mandate the necessary separation of powers.”

More information can be found in the OAG February 28, 2024 Press Release.