1/8/11

It's Not Okay in Okay, Oklahoma

As I was sitting down for my Saturday morning coffee and news roundup, I came across a story from the Muskogee Phoenix that told the tale of trailer parks, sewer lines, town ordinances, and law libraries. What more could you want in a news story? Reporter Keith Purtell's report titled “Mobile disagreement: Okay resident says city officials are treating her unfairly,” covers the dispute between the town officials of Okay, Oklahoma and mobile home park owner, Melisa Robinson.

Many of us talk about the difficulty of the public finding Federal or State statutes in order to know and understand the laws that govern them… well, as difficult as those laws are to find, it seems that the local laws may even be harder to find. Just take a look at this part of the story:
During the course of the dispute, Robinson said she discovered Okay has not published their ordinances or placed a copy in the Wagoner County law library, which she says is required by state law. Robinson said she checked at the county courthouse three times.
Okay Vice Mayor Deborah Morrow said that law may not apply to Okay.
“It’s also a matter of public record in the general sense. We’re not a city, we’re a town, and there are some differences in rules, and that would just have to do more with the laws in such regards,” Morrow said, noting the town does what it has to do to obey laws. 
I'm sure that most of the citizens of Okay, Oklahoma also do what they have to do to obey the laws, too. However, if there's no record of what those laws are, how can they be enforced?

Just where are the ordinances of Okay, Oklahoma? According to Janet Fielding, secretary/bailiff for Wagoner County District Judge Darrell Shepherd (and I'm assuming the de facto law library clerk), she has a copy of the 1985 Okay ordinances in her office. As for the set that is supposed to be in the law library? Probably stolen.



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