Share “Goals set by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin in...”

Goals set by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin in 2012 met mostly with success

BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: February 4, 2013
Advertisement

Of priorities laid out by Gov. Mary Fallin in January 2012, all but two items either came to fruition or are still in development.

And both items that did not come to pass — a bond issue to support repairs at the Capitol and major cuts to the state's personal income tax — fell apart last-minute at the hands not of Fallin but of state legislators.

Here is a look at Fallin's 2012 promises and requests and where they stand today:

• Pass a resolution declaring Oklahoma will support a federal balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

This passed and was filed at the secretary of state's office.

• Create a smaller, more efficient, more customer-friendly state government.

The state experienced one of the biggest declines in number of employees between 2010 and 2011 with a 3.1 percent drop, and five agencies were consolidated into one — Office of Management and Enterprise Services — last year.

John Estus, spokesman for that office, said the number of full-time regular employees, excluding higher education, went up from 33,704 to 33,849 in the past year, but that it's a moving target that's hard to define with a single number.

Estus said the consolidation was expected to save the state $4.1 million, much more than was targeted. And Fallin announced several more consolidation plans in her speech on Monday.

• Hire a chief information officer for Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Von Royal was hired by the regents for that position in May.

• Develop alternative sentencing programs for nonviolent offenders with substance-abuse issues and develop new mental health “crisis centers.”

The state's mental health department will open two centers this year — Family & Children's Services in Tulsa and Mental Health Services of Southern Oklahoma in Ardmore — said department spokeswoman Pam McKeown.

McKeown said the department also has started screening for mental health and substance-abuse concerns at 10 county jails with plans for seven more counties to start this year.

• Increase the number of college graduates receiving degrees and certificates from 30,500 annually to 50,900 by 2023.

Last year, 34,347 people received degrees and certificates, said Amy Goddard, spokeswoman for Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. That beat the goal by 1,934, she said.

• Initiate a performance evaluation for each state agency and develop a strategic plan outlining goals and proposals for increased efficiency and improved services at each one.

Estus said a performance team is being assembled, and an evaluation software system should be ready to go within a year.

“In order to basically look at all the agencies' performance in the same level playing system, we have to look at them through the same software system,” he said.

• Re-evaluate the Department of Human Services.

Since being rocked by high-profile child abuse deaths and settling a federal class-action lawsuit last January, the state has unrolled a series of reforms. Last fall it announced it would close resource centers in Pauls Valley and Enid, and Oklahoma voters passed a law doing away with the department's governing commission and installing an advisory committee instead.

• Increase the number of Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers on the road, fund teachers' health benefits, provide supplementary assistance to the state medical examiner's officer and refill the state's emergency fund for cities and counties.

In a supplementary funding bill, teachers received $37.6 million in insurance benefits, the medical examiner's office got $1 million for new equipment, and the state's emergency fund was boosted to $34.1 million.

Continue reading this story on the...