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On January 14, the City of Tulsa’s Deputy Chief of Staff Amy Brown will begin her new job as Deputy Mayor. The University of Tulsa alumna will be replacing Michael Junk, who will leave the Mayor’s office next year to serve as chief of staff to Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt.
Amy Brown has been interested in public service since her days as an A.P. U.S. History student at Stillwater High School. She admired Thomas Jefferson and Madeleine Albright, taking inspiration from their leadership.
She came to Tulsa in 2006 to study Political Science at TU. During her senior year, she took a semester off to work for Kathy Taylor as a mayoral aid. That was her first introduction to work in city government, and she found that it suited her.
“When you study political science in school it’s all very conceptual. There’s a lot of political theory,” Brown said. “I think what I really like about working in local government is it’s real and tangible. It impacts people’s daily lives, from the water they use to make their morning coffee to the experience they have as they travel to their job.”
After graduating with her BA, Brown took a job as a City Council aide. She served in this role for five years. It was during this time that she met then-Counselor G.T. Bynum. She says that she likes Bynum’s nonpartisan, cooperative approach to governance.
“On one hand it’s sort of like the Golden Rule, the most common sense thing in the world,” said Brown. “And at the same time it’s sort of been recognized as a radical way of doing business in local government and in politics.”
For his part, Mayor Bynum has nothing but good things to say. “Amy Brown has one of the best minds I’ve encountered in public service at any level. I’ve worked with her for years, both on the City Council and now in the Mayor’s Office. Over the last two years, she has taken on some of our most challenging projects … She has proven herself as an adept manager and leader and will make a great Deputy Mayor. I am thankful she has agreed to move into this role,” he said in a press release.
Brown left the City to attend TU Law School in 2014. She graduated just as Bynum won the mayoral election. “I thought I was changing gears. I thought I was going to do something really different with my life, professionally,” Brown said.
But when Mayor-elect Bynum offered her the position of Deputy Chief of Staff, Brown jumped at the chance. “For me it was a dream job and an opportunity to work with hands-down the best team of people in Tulsa.”
When asked if anything about working for the City surprised her, she seized the opportunity to praise her colleagues. “I’m always impressed but never surprised by the ingenuity of our team at the City.” She should know; as Deputy Chief of Staff she is responsible for thousands of city employees.
Brown has a lot on her plate in her current position. She oversees the administrative and public safety support divisions, chairs the pension board, works with several government bodies to reduce pretrial incarceration rates, and works as Mayor Bynum’s veterans liaison. Her promotion will see her continue these duties and a few more. Starting next year, she will be responsible for serving as acting mayor should the mayor be absent coordinating policy matters on behalf of the City.
She says that she is looking forward to engaging directly with Tulsa’s communities, as she did when she worked for City Council. “One thing that’s kind of exciting is to be out in the community a little bit more. Hopefully provide a little more transparency in our city government,” she said. “I’m hoping to do a little bit more of that as deputy mayor.”
Brown is excited to help advance the mayor’s agenda. She hopes to continue increasing public safety staffing, improving traffic protections in Tulsa, and making sure the City of Tulsa does the best it can for its citizens. She said she wants to develop best practices for the City with proven, data-driven methods.
“When we talk about being ‘future focused,’ a lot of it is things like economic development and community development,” she said. “But part of it is also just making sure that [in] the core services as a city, that we are leading the way.”