Bush Supports DHS Director’s New Service-First Model
Mike Seals - May 27, 2020 9:53 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, today commented on the Service-First model announced by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS), which will result in the closure of some county offices and the reassignment of some staff members to new duty stations or to telework.
DHS Director Justin Brown said the model is in response to reduced revenue projections Oklahoma is expected to face in Fiscal Year 2021 that have resulted in a 4% cut in agency appropriations. He said the Service-First model prioritizes the agency’s customers and workforce over physical structures. Brown said there would be no full-time employee (FTE) furloughs or reductions under the plan.
“I fully support Director Brown and his True North vision to make DHS more efficient and effective during this difficult budget time,” Bush said. “I appreciate that direct services to Oklahoma’s children and families will not suffer under this plan, and I will continue to work alongside this agency to ensure that remains true for the long run.”
Under the plan, two-thirds of DHS employees will continue to be assigned to a duty station in their current county. Some employees will be able to telework, while the agency will be able to track individual employee productivity. Office space will still be available to teleworking staff to use, as needed, using collaboration and hoteling models. All DHS employees will have a state-issued cell phone and will be required to carry business cards that list contact information where they can be reached directly by customers and the community at large.
Counties that will no longer have a brick-and-mortar site include: Adair, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coal, Craig, Custer, Delaware, Garvin, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Haskell, Hughes, Jefferson, Johnston, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, Logan, Major, Marshall, Mayes, McClain, Murray, Noble, Nowata, Okemah, Osage, Pawnee, Seminole, Tillman, and Washita.
Brown said DHS staff will still be available statewide for face-to-face interactions by appointment, and this change will make service available in communities that have not historically had a brick-and-mortar presence. Brown said the agency learned during the recent COVID-19 shutdown that its online portal, https://www.okdhslive.org/, was adequate to serve as an entry point for customers.
Carol Bush represents District 70 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Tulsa County.