Gann Comments on Health Department Fund Mismanagement

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Contact: State Rep. Tom Gann

Office: (405) 557-7364


OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Tom Gann released the following statements on yesterday’s grand jury’s findings from its investigation of the state Health Department. The findings confirmed the gross mismanagement of state government.


“I believe the findings of the grand jury reveal that this type of mismanagement is not an exception but the norm of how our state government is managed,” said Gann, R-Inola.


The first recommendation issued by the grand jury stated, “The Board and the Commissioner improve the control environment and tone at the top of the agency.” 


“I have written before about the tone at the top,” Gann said. “It truly matters how we approach the use of taxpayer dollars. The Oklahoma taxpayer deserves better.


“As a member of the House Special Investigative Committee, I was astounded by the magnitude of this type of mismanagement that was able to continue undetected and ignored for so long.


“I believe it is time to pass reform measures that would hold agency heads personally liable for the accuracy and completeness of agency financial reports. This is done in the corporate world, where corporate officers are subject to forfeiture of benefits and civil penalties and are required to certify and attest to the integrity of their financial reports. It should be no different for any agency head that oversees an agency that compares to some corporations in terms of the size of their budgets.


“The disruption of services by agencies as a means to gain more appropriations from the Legislature should be outlawed. The state Health Department never needed to disrupt services across the state and never needed the additional money to provide those services. The process of how agencies come to the Legislature for more money is a shell game. 


“This calls into question the recent tax increases. Are they really necessary? I never thought the Legislature was getting a real picture of the financial situations and by testimony by the state auditor and attorney general yesterday no one in state government does either.


“If we are ever going to be the state we can be, we must break the mentality of tax and spend to ‘get something done’ and create a culture of transparency of state resources so when there is a need the Oklahoma taxpayer is assured the money is needed and will be spent properly.”