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Former Oklahoma DHS director, Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center director dies

BY LEIGHANNE MANWARREN lmanwarren@opubco.com Published: January 14, 2013
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/articleid/3745959/1/pictures/1927604">Photo - Benjamin Demps Jr.
Benjamin Demps Jr.

Demps returned to Oklahoma in 1991 to become director of the state's welfare program.

He was the first black person to serve as DHS director, a position he held until January 1994. During that time, Demps dealt with a controversial overstaffing of the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Treatment Center in Tecumseh.

The Oklahoman reported more than 170 employees were taking care of 13 youths in a facility that could house 76 juveniles. At the time, the center's annual budget was $6.3 million, of which $5.1 million went to payroll.

Demps consolidated the agency's resources, leading to the furlough of 88 DHS employees and converting the center from a juvenile psychiatric facility to a center for juvenile offenders.

He received two Presidential Meritorious Executive Service Awards, one from Jimmy Carter in 1980 and one from George H.W. Bush in 1991.

Demps later served as Kansas City, Mo., public schools superintendent from 1999 to 2001.

He moved to Florida in 2002. He enjoyed sailing, dancing, bragging about his grandchildren, listening to music and traveling with his wife, Brown said.

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