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Lawton City Manager Responds to Criticism

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Lawton, Okla._A sharp response from Lawton's City Manager Tuesday night regarding criticism and questions about the city's financial situation.

Bryan Long took the floor at Tuesday's council meeting, and spent about 10 solid minutes detailing his commitment to openness and maintaining lines of communication with the public and the council. He presented reams of paperwork that he said answered several questions about the city's financial dealings that had been raised in a recent editorial.

"The point of my discussion today is not to chastise anybody for what's been done. The point is, the lines of communication are open. Utilize it. The resource is here for you to use. Utilize it. And I challenge you as citizens to take advantage of that challenge I submit to you. I submit the same challenge to our city council and mayor," Long said.

Before Long's comments, Councilman Keith Jackson called on city staff to help the council better understand the monthly financial reports, saying they can be confusing for those who aren't trained in accounting. Long said he or someone on staff would be made available to do just that, each month.

In other action Tuesday night, the council voted to extend their current contract with a lobbyist at the state capitol. There had been discussion at the previous meeting about ending that deal, but supporters said having a permanent presence in Oklahoma City had brought benefits that far outweighed the cost.

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