City of Tulsa maintenance manager Van Hughes suddenly retires after five-day suspension

The City of Tulsa maintenance garage is where city vehicles get their tune-ups, everything from minor fixes to major repairs.

"We're confident in our mechanics," said Tulsa City Manager Jim Twombly.

Twombly sat down with the 2NEWS Investigators to talk about changes to the department.

Recent affidavits had listed a lack of training due to poor management, all under the leadership of maintenance manager Van Hughes.

In an appeal hearing last week, Hughes said he was innocent of the wrongdoing, but the fire department disagreed.

Mike Mallory with Tulsa Fire Department testified that wheels feel off a fire truck and repairs were done using a paperclip . Meanwhile, the police department also testified and expressed concerns. They said duct tape was used in a repair.

Twombly says despite those reports, he is confident that workers are well-trained now.

"A lot of training has been made available to the mechanics online so that they're able to [learn] at their own pace," said Twombly.

Van Hughes received five days unpaid suspension for being "negligent and/or incompetent." He lost his appeal last week and announced his retirement the next day.

He will get full benefits paid by city tax dollars starting May 1.

His supervisor, Brent Jones, was also accused of wrongdoing. He suddenly retired when allegations over poor repair work first came to light.

Jones is getting a full retirement too.

Twombly says the two former employee's pension and his benefits has yet to be reevaluated.

"Not at this stage because he did retire," Twombly said. "There's been no disciplinary action taken against him, that will never be re-reviewed."

Twombly said the Mayor's office never knew about any of the reported incidents prior to any complaints.

"That type of communication wasn't getting to this level, the Mayor's office level," he said.

The department is now under new management. The city manager says they are implementing 21 recommendations to make sure this doesn't happen again.

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