Share “Bold leadership will be needed from next...”

Bold leadership will be needed from next DHS director

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: March 27, 2012
Advertisement

PRESTON Doerflinger promises not to be a “placeholder” during his time as interim director of the Department of Human Services. How that manifests itself remains to be seen. What's important is that the person who follows Doerflinger in the job has the same mindset.

Bold leadership — maybe brave is a better word — is needed at the top of DHS, an agency that's under extra scrutiny following events that resulted in longtime director Howard Hendrick resigning. Hendrick had run DHS for more than 13 years and had accomplished a great deal. But the deaths of several children in DHS care, and the agency's handling of those cases, contributed to a groundswell of protest ranging from everyday citizens to the governor's office.

Gov. Mary Fallin appointed two new members to the Human Services Commission, the board that oversees DHS, after revelations that some board members were less than tuned in to the agency's work and seemed to know little about the details regarding a class-action lawsuit filed over foster care. That lawsuit has since been settled and work continues on an improvement plan that is a condition of the settlement.

The addition of the two new commission members, Brad Yarbrough and Wes Lane, has been a positive. Lane, a former Oklahoma County district attorney, is leading a special committee looking into the deaths of children and adults in DHS care. Yarbrough, commission chairman, is heading up a committee to determine the panel's proper oversight role.

That will be an important piece of DHS moving forward. Particularly during the tail end of Hendrick's time as director, the Human Services Commission tended not to dig into the data he presented at regular monthly meetings. This was reflected in depositions given by some commission members as part of the class-action lawsuit who said they simply relied on Hendrick or DHS staff to handle things.

Continue reading this story on the...

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...
+ show more


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Facebook Takes a Step Into Education Software
  2. 2
    50 incredible bars you should drink at in your lifetime
  3. 3
    Kim Davis is a Democrat. Why does that matter?
  4. 4
    Watch Oklahoma's top mental health officer dress, dance as Michael Jackson
  5. 5
    Tahlequah police tighten patrols in response to high-profile cases of violence toward officers
+ show more

FEATURED JOBS



× Trending opinion Article