Retired Cushing City Manager, Steve Spears, was recently recognized for his service as proponent of Public Power throughout his career by the Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO) with the association’s 2018 Ray Duffy Personal Service Award.
Beginning his municipal service in 1977, as a city engineer fresh out of Oklahoma State University, he served his community with distinction for 40 years. During his tenure, he served in the roles of engineer, manager of the public works authority, assistant city manager, concluding as city manager for the last seven years prior to his retirement.
In recognizing his service, MESO noted his tireless work in overseeing the effective maintenance and replacement of critical city infrastructure. His responsibilities included planning, scheduling, design, and design review resulting in the successful completion of more than $50 million in local improvement projects throughout his career. He accomplished this while always remaining a champion of economic development and growth in an effort to improve the quality of life for Cushing’s citizens.
During this time, Spears also successfully negotiated with two unions without ever having a grievance filed or going to arbitration. Simultaneously he always negotiated for fair and equitable benefits on behalf of all city employees through the budgeting process.
In 2000, he was appointed to the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) to represent cities. Under GRDA’s reorganization, he was elected to continue his service as MESO’s Executive Director a position he held until his retirement in December 2017. His GRDA Board tenure is the second longest in GRDA history, and he served twice as the Board’s Chairman. In his Board capacity, he has effectively represented the interests of GRDA’s customer cities, balancing the cost of power with the cost of operations to ensure that cities and towns were provided with low cost power.
His further commitment to his city can be found in the countless hours of service through the chamber of commerce, economic development foundation and the community’s Junior Olympics.
About Municipal Electric Services of Oklahoma (MESO):
MESO is the state association of municipally owned electric utilities providing electric service to more than 400,000 residents in 63 communities across Oklahoma. MESO serves members by facilitating mutual aid efforts; advancing education and advocacy; and, delivering training and development programs.
MESO’s Mission Statement -“To enhance our members’ value to their customers through industry best-practice programs, training and services.”
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