Skiatook Town Attorney Joel Barnaby handed in his official letter of resignation to the trustees during the July 19 special meeting, citing a job offer as a full-time university professor as his reason for leaving. That university is Cameron University, according to Mayor Josh Brown.
“This opportunity was unexpected and developed within the last week. I have been desirous of such a position with a university for several years,” his letter stated.
Barnaby had told Brown about the offer just a few days before, and made his resignation official Thursday. Barnaby has been the town attorney since August 2003.
“Really, Skiatook couldn’t ask for a better attorney,” Brown said. “He always kept Skiatook’s best interest in mind… Him leaving is not anything negative, not anything political, not anything drama related.
“Joel, he never lost his cool… real collected and cool headed. He was our foundation, our base,” Brown said.
In his letter, Barnaby also suggested his law partner Jeff Stephens as the interim town attorney, which Brown and the trustees approved. Stephens has been the town attorney for Haskell and Sperry “for a number of years,” according to Barnaby’s letter.
“I am very optimistic with Jeff,” said Brown, who has known Stephens since high school.
Barnaby’s last day will be July 31, but he has offered his services on a contractual basis to help with the transition, according to Town Clerk, Treasurer and interim Town Coordinator Shirley Lett.
“I have no doubt that Jeff will do a fantastic job,” Barnaby wrote. “I have enjoyed assisting the Town of Skiatook as Town Attorney and plan to continue to contribute as a consulting attorney to the Town.”