Steven Dow's appointment to the Oklahoma Human Services Commission in 2010 shook things up. Dow's questioning of whether open meeting rules were being followed properly, and his insistence that the board dive more deeply into child death cases and data presented by the Department of Human Services, has rankled colleagues.
One of them is Aneta Wilkinson, who took umbrage last year when Dow, during a deposition in a class-action lawsuit filed against the state, criticized the commission as “quite non-participatory and very weak.” Wilkinson has strongly defended the work of the commission. She was one of three commissioners who voted against settling the lawsuit; Dow welcomed the settlement.
The two are jousting again over a meeting Dow attended in February with parents and guardians of severely developmentally disabled residents of the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center in Pauls Valley. With Dow was attorney Louis Bullock, who in the 1980s was part of the civil rights lawsuit that resulted in closure of the Hissom Memorial Center in Sand Springs.
The state is trying to come up with a plan for the Pauls Valley facility and the Northern Oklahoma Resource Center in Enid. Both are deteriorating and outdated.