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Another setback for Oklahoma's human services agency

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: June 14, 2012

Gov. Mary Fallin's appointments of Yarbrough and Wes Lane in September helped build momentum for change at DHS. Not long after, the state agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit, and in January the agency's longtime director resigned. Since then, though, there has been a string of hiccups. The first person named interim director of DHS had to bail over questions about the legality of her appointment. The monthslong search for a permanent director didn't produce a home run choice, so a new search is under way that could take another three to four months — putting the state well past its July 1 target date to fill the post. Legislative reform efforts surfaced only in the final weeks of the session. Two outstanding commission members resigned.

Now Yarbrough has given up his chairmanship, although we were glad to see he intends to remain on the board. Fallin should give serious consideration to his suggestion that Lane be named the new chairman. Like Yarbrough, Lane offers professionalism and competence, and he has a passion for service.

The job may be short term, no matter who gets it, because voters in November will be asked to consider a constitutional amendment doing away with the Human Services Commission. Tuesday's antics certainly don't help its cause.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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