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'So exciting!' | Bynum talks transition from mayor to Saint Francis

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jun 17, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa gets a new mayor in just under 200 days and G.T. Bynum gets a new job.

Mayor Bynum announced over the weekend that he is taking on the role of Vice-President of Community and Government Affairs with Saint Francis Health System.

Bynum said he spent the last eight years serving people who save lives, like first responders.

“Now, the opportunity to do the same thing but work for people saving lives at Saint Francis Health System, that is so exciting,” he said.

Mayor G.T. Bynum to join Saint Francis Health Systems once term ends

Bynum said he will supervise the community engagement at the hospital as well as the interaction with local, state and federal agencies.

He said the last four difficult years as mayor strengthened his ties to the hospital, pointing to the pandemic, the mass shooting at Saint Francis, and the shooting of two officers.

Officer Aurash Zarkeshan was severely injured on the job in 2020. Sergeant Craig Johnson died from his injuries.

“Being outside the operating room the night Sergeant Johnson was shot and seeing how the team at Saint Francis cared for his family and fellow officers in the worst day as my time as mayor,” he recalled.

Mayor Bynum said he sees this next step as a way to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Robert LaFortune. LaFortune served two terms as mayor as well, and then became a civic leader, doing a lot of that work in health care.

“I’m grateful he’s my hero because it has liberated me from any sense that I need to be climbing a political ladder, or thinking what the next thing I’m going to run for is, because I have never had that motivation,” he said.

Bynum will start in December—one day after his last day as mayor.

“With a mayor’s job, your mind is going 100 miles an hour all the time,” he said. “I think if I left that and sat on the beach by myself for two weeks, I’d be like Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining.’”

When asked if he planned to stay with Saint Francis until he retires, Dr. Cliff Robertson, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Saint Francis Health System, stepped to the podium.

“I would like to answer that question and say ‘only if he does a good job,’” he laughed.

In the meantime, Bynum said it will be a busy last few months serving Tulsa.
The role at Saint Francis was created for Bynum. Dr. Robertson said there are similar positions that already exist at hospitals across the country.

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