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This article was archived on 11/21/2013

Tulsa'a 21-year former City Auditor remembered

Tulsa's longest-serving elected official, former City Auditor Phil Wood, died Wednesday. He was 88.

Wood was first elected as City Auditor in 1988 and served until 2009, a record 21 years.

Current City Auditor Clift Richards said Wood will be sorely missed.

"He was an inspirational leader and was the driving force behind establishing a world class internal audit department for the City of Tulsa.

"He was the consummate professional and his excellent character and integrity still influence the internal audit department of the City," Richards said.

The City Auditor serves as an independent eye on City operations and resources. The auditor regularly reviews the City's financial activities, using these findings to make recommendations to the mayor and the City Council on how to become more financially efficient.

City of Tulsa Chief Internal Auditor Ron Maxwell said Wood was "the noblest man I've ever known and an inspiration to all who knew him.

"Phil Wood served the citizens of Tulsa with honor, integrity and professionalism as their City Auditor for eleven consecutive terms.

"Phil treated everyone he met with respect, kindness, guidance and wisdom," Maxwell said.

During his time in office, Wood made city government more transparent with his website, www.cityauditorphilwood.com, where citizens could read years of audits and the internal auditing manual, as well as city ordinances, executive orders and more.

Wood also implemented an ethics hotline and web reporting system, which citizens and City employees could use to anonymously report fraud, waste or abuse.

City Councilor G.T. Bynum said it was an honor to know and serve with Wood because "he brought such dedication to public service.

"Over two decades as City Auditor he brought the same kind of focus and drive that made him successful in the private sector - cranking out audit after audit that helped policymakers operate our City government in a more responsible way and pioneering the kind of web-based reporting that makes the operations of government more transparent for every citizen," Bynum said.

Wood received the key to the city in 2009.

Wood is survived by his wife, long-time educator Emily Wood, and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"Auditor Wood was a good and decent man, and the thanks of all Tulsans should be with Emily and the whole Wood family," Bynum said.