After 22 years of service, Broken Arrow City Manager David Wooden was fired on Friday evening. His dismissal has been linked to community backlash against the planned Red Clay Casino on a privately owned Indian allotment in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, reported The Republic.
Members of Broken Arrow Citizens Against Neighborhood Gaming have been vocal in criticizing Wooden and other city officials for not informing residents of the tribe's plans to bring casino gaming to the neighborhood, although city officials were informed of the plans months before they became public.
The tribe reportedly issued its first statement about the casino through a lawyer in Washington D.C. on January 10, addressing questions about the land and the transfer of jurisdiction, reported KRMG.
City officials have said they doubted whether the casino would actually materialize. While Wooden had made his opposition known, he doubted the city had legal standing to prevent its development.
"As a result of that, they feel I'm responsible, and there's nothing I can do to change their opinion," he told The Republic.
Wooden will receive six months' severance pay plus benefits. Human Resources Director Russell Gale will replace Wooden as acting city manager, a role he has previously filled while Wooden was away.
The Wetumka, Oklahoma-based federally recognized tribe with 439 enrolled members is part of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The Kialegee Tribal Town claims jurisdiction at the site of the planned Red Clay Casino because of its treaty rights and status as “a member of the Creek Confederacy,” reported Tulsa World.