Thursday, November 1, 2012

Commentary: Vote YES on SQ765 for Real DHS Reform

Vote YES on SQ765 if:

  • You DON'T like what you've been learning about DHS the last several years, 
  • You DO want to see long term improvements in DHS operations, 
  • You DO want to see increased accountability at DHS, 
  • You DON'T think nine unelected officials should have complete constitutional authority over the state's largest agency, 
  • You DO think the agency should answer to the public through elected representatives, and 
  • You DO want to give the Governor and the Legislature the tools they need to fix problems facing the agency.

Remember, it was the Commission that refused to review child death cases like Serenity Deal until recently. Under Commission leadership three federal class action lawsuits have been filed against the agency. What could the Governor or the Legislature do? Nothing. The commission is isolated from public accountability by the Constitution. 

The Constitution says:
  1. DHS is to be "under the control of a commission," not the legislature, not the governor and not even the Director. Sole authority over DHS is given to the commission.
  2. The Commission is 'composed of nine members appointed by the Governor." The governor selects a commissioner to serve as chairman of the commission. Commissioners serve staggered nine year terms. 
  3. It is the "duty of the Commission to select a Director."
  4. The Commission shall formulate the policies, rules and regulations for the administration of the Department. 
  5. All executive and administrative duties and responsibilities carried out by the Director are "Subject to the approval of the Commission."
  6. Hiring personnel, setting standards, qualifications, examinations and salary schedules for employees are all "subject to the control of the Commission."
  7. "No member of said Commission shall be subject to removal by the Governor."
The current system doesn't work. Oklahoma is the only state to have a dysfunctional system like this. Let's abolish the Constitutional Commission and bring real reform to DHS. 

Vote YES on SQ765 on November 6!

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