Share “Email gets Oklahoma state employee removed...”

Email gets Oklahoma state employee removed from building

David Porta, an information technology employee for the state of Oklahoma, said he was escorted from work under armed guard Monday after sending an email to lawmakers questioning whether the Oklahoma Department of Human Services was wasting thousands of dollars on a logo rebranding project.
by Randy Ellis Modified: August 20, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: August 19, 2013

“You are no longer authorized to work on any OKDHS related projects or work assignments, and you are to be assigned to a non-OKDHS work location,” Mark A. Robison, director of DHS's office of business quality, said Monday in a letter to Porta that called his email “inflammatory” and “completely incorrect.”

“You are hereby directed to vacate the OKDHS Data Services building immediately,” Robison said.

Placed on leave

John Estus, OMES spokesman, said Porta has been placed on administrative leave.

“An OMES employee was not speaking for the agency when he sent an email to journalists, legislators and others claiming certain costs are being incurred for a redesign of the DHS logo and related services,” Estus said. “A cost analysis for the project has not been done, but it will not cost tens of thousands of dollars, as the employee claimed. The employee has been placed on administrative leave while actions taken by both the OMES employee and DHS staff are reviewed. Because this is a personnel matter, we cannot comment further at this time.”

Powell said she thought it was over dramatic for Porta to say he was escorted from the building by armed guard, but said an employee of DHS's Office of Inspector General, who is authorized to carry a weapon, was present to ensure the safety of employees.

‘Not costing anything'

The primary reason for the new logo design is DHS officials do not believe the old logo “reflects caring, compassionate (employees) helping vulnerable Oklahomans,” Powell said.

“Where he came up with this ‘tens of thousands of dollars,' we have no idea,” she said. “It's not costing the agency anything. ... It doesn't cost anything to switch out a logo on a computer screen. ... We make changes to our website every single day for one reason or another.”

The redesign was done in house, she said.

Powell said the agency has very little printed letterhead and what letterhead it does have will be used before more is printed.

The new logo and changing of references from OKDHS to DHS will be done gradually as supplies of old brochures run out, new policies are implemented and information on the website is updated, she said.

“It doesn't have to be done all at once,” she said. “You'll probably see the old logo on buildings for years to come because if there's a logo out there attached to a building or sign, we're not going to go to the expense of changing that. That would be ridiculous.”

Porta said executives often don't recognize the amount of time and programming work required to change logos and do other rebranding.

by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
+ show more

Trending Now


  1. 1
    Carmelo Anthony likely will miss Friday's game against Thunder
  2. 2
    Marcus Smart could play this weekend for Boston Celtics
  3. 3
    Creed's Scott Stapp Reveals He's Homeless in Jarring New Video
  4. 4
    Injury could mean Xavier Henry gets cut from Lakers
  5. 5
    Couple suing famous Little League team over bad throw
+ show more