by Patrick B. McGuigan
In one of his final acts as chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Steven Taylor administered the oath of office as County Commissioner Brian Maughan commerced his second term. Ceremonies were held in the chambers of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and the change of venue from the county courthouse brought hundreds to the state Capitol building on an otherwise quiet day at the seat of government.
The floor of the House was full and the gallery above nearly so for the half-hour ceremony that led to Taylor’s administration of the at the well of the House.
Several individuals present have become passionate advocates of the SHINE program Commissioner Maughan pioneered during his first term in office. The program began as an alternative to incarceration for juvenile and young adult offenders who could avoid or reduce time in a facility through participation in clean-up projects around the county. Nearly 10,000 participants have cleaned up parks, residential areas and other partsof the community in the past three years.
Offenders diverted in to the program have already delivered some 100,000 hours of “community service” in the system. In brief remarks, Commissioner Maughan praised the cooperation and leadership of Bob Ravitz, head of the county office for indigent defense, for advocating the SHINE program.
Last year, the program was expanded to include non-offenders, including student volunteers from local schools. In eight months, the student volunteers have already provided a similar 100,000 hours of donated time.
The SHINE program was boosted in state legislation this year, encouraging other jurisdictions to build on the effective model here in the state’s most populated county. State Sen. David Holt of Oklahoma City and state Rep. Gary Banz of Midwest City, co-sponsors of that bill, were also recognized at the Maughan event.
SHINE is the acronym for “Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere.” The program was crafted with the assistance the late Safari McDoulett, an aide to Maughan who died during his first term. The historic Holt-Banz legislation broadening the impact of SHINE was named in McDoulett’s honor.
Maughan praised local government employees from both large and small municipalities, as well as his own District 2 staff, for working long hours on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and immediately thereafter to clear roadways and streets. He joked that “anyone wanting a White Christmas is off my list from now on.”
Maughan honored the memory of two of his mentors, the late Judge Twyla Gray and the late Tom Dudley, a south Oklahoma City civic leader and Republican legend in Oklahoma City.
A bipartisan range of supporters, including several elected officials, joined hundreds of Maughan’s fans in the state House chambers for the formal swearing-in, then joined in a relaxing luncheon catered by the Southside-El Chico.
Colleagues from the county commission, Ray Vaughan and Willa Johnson, were present, along with former Commissioners Jim Roth and Jack Cornett. County Assessor Leonard Sullivan and former District Attorney Wes Lane sat together several feet from the spot in the House well, where Justice Taylor administered the ceremonial commencement of the new term for Commissioner Maughan.
Other attendees included state Sen. Clark Jolley, and state Reps. Anastasia Pittman, Jason Murphey and Gary Banz, as well as incoming Speaker T. W. Shannon. Past legislators at the event included former Reps. Thad Balkman and Kevin Cox. From the executive branch of state government, Secretary of Education Phyllis Hudecki represented Gov. Mary Fallin.
Local television news anchor Kevin Ogle served as master of ceremonies for the event, which featured the invocation of Pastor Doug Melton, from Southern Hills Baptist. Rev. Melton also honored McDoulett’s memory. Maj. Ed Palito of the Folders of Honor Foundation led he throng attending the event in the pledge, while Maughan supporter Stefanie Fields sang the national anthem.