Former DHS Commissioner Steven Dow of Tulsa wants the Oklahoma Ethics Commission to rescind its recent public reprimand of him.
The Ethics Commission has called a special meeting for 10:15 a.m. Friday in Room 432A of the state Capitol building to consider his request.
Dow was publicly reprimanded by the Ethics Commission May 29 for serving as a DHS commissioner at the same time he was the unpaid chief executive officer of Community Action Project of Tulsa County, a nonprofit agency that contracts with DHS to provide day care and child education services.
The Ethics Commission ruled that was a conflict of interest and Dow resigned as a Department of Human Services commissioner the next day.
In Dow's resignation letter to the governor, he wrote that he was “surprised and disappointed” by the Ethics Commission's decision.
Dow wrote that he had informed then-Gov. Brad Henry's office of the potential conflict when Henry first appointed him, and said Henry's “legal counsel and chief of staff thoroughly investigated and researched the matter, concluding that there was not a violation of any provision of the Constitution or statute.”
Dow wrote that DHS's commission chairman later sought and received a similar informal written opinion from the state attorney general's office.
“In a letter and accompanying legal memorandum sent by Assistant Attorney General Jan Preslar last month, we received a similar legal conclusion that there was not a conflict in my serving in both capacities,” Dow wrote.
However, an examination of the letter sent by the attorney general's office shows the findings of that office were inconclusive.
The letter said the assistant attorney general was unable to determine whether Dow had a “conflict of interest based on the limited facts we were provided.”
The letter listed a number of questions that would have to be answered before a determination could be made.