Friday, December 15, 2017

Health Dep't so bloated 200-employee layoff won't affect services?


The House Special Investigative Committee is digging into the scandal that is the fiscal mismanagement at the Oklahoma Department of Health. For more on the meetings the committee held this week, read these links: NewsOKNewsOKKFOR, and KOCO.

News9 reported this stunner of a statement by Secretary of Finance and interim Health Department head Preston Doerflinger:
Last week, the agency announced almost 200-layoffs. Doerflinger said the agency is so bloated those layoffs won’t have an impact on services. [emphasis mine]

To put that in perspective, the constitutional office of the State Auditor & Inspector has 109 employees, slightly more than half the number cut at the Department of Health.

Steve Fair has a great post entitled "Unchain the Watchdog!" where he points out that if the State Auditor's office wasn't handcuffed (Fallin's 2013 veto of expanded auditing authorities was brought up at the House committee meeting), this might have been uncovered sooner.

One interesting thing to note about Doerflinger is his changing story of when he became aware of the Health Department problems. His sworn testimony to the House committee was that he didn't find out until late October when it became public, but State Auditor Jones (who Doerflinger has clashed with repeatedly over the years, including trying to kick the Auditor's office from the Capitol building) produced text messages and phone call reports showing that Jones told Doerflinger in early September about the issues.

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