Ponca City, OK

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Committee issues subpoenas to three of Fallin’s top executives

The Associated Press and The Oklahoman - December 1, 2017 11:06 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The head of a special state House committee looking into allegations of financial mismanagement at the Department of Health has issued subpoenas to three of Gov. Mary Fallin’s top executives.

Subpoenas were served Thursday to Fallin’s Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger, the acting director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services Denise Northrup and Fallin’s Chief of Staff Chris Benge.

The subpoenas seek answers to dozens of questions about financial problems at the Department of Health as well as records in the offices of the governor and OMES relating to the health department and other executive agencies.

Several top officials at the Department of Health have resigned, and Attorney General Mike Hunter has requested a state investigative audit that could lead to criminal charges.

The Oklahoman reports that a spokesman confirms that Deborah Nichols, the health department’s chief operating officer, resigned on Tuesday.

The resignation adds another vacancy to be filled at the department. Commissioner Terry Cline and Senior Deputy Commissioner Julie Cox-Kain also resigned less than a month ago.

The turnovers follow accusations that the agency’s top officials used “accounting tricks” to falsely present a balanced budget since at least 2011.

Gov. Mary Fallin selected Preston Doerflinger to take Cline’s place. He says after taking over the department he discovered the agency’s practices had created a $30 million budget shortfall.

 

 

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