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New Oklahoma DHS director taking important first steps to improve

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: February 13, 2013

To begin that transformation, Lake said a systemic review is under way, declaring, “There are better ways of doing what we're doing now.” That attitude alone may represent a sea change. In the past, agency officials' typical knee-jerk response was to circle the wagons when criticisms were raised.

Lake said the agency's needs could require another $175 million, which isn't feasible at this time, so DHS' immediate budget priorities include increasing staff numbers to reduce workers' caseloads and boosting provider rates.

“We can't PR ourselves to a better image. We have to perform ourselves there,” Lake said. “And that is a process that isn't going to happen in six or seven months by any stretch of the imagination.”

Fixing an agency as large and troubled as DHS won't occur overnight, but Lake seems to be taking the crucial first steps necessary for improvement: admitting problems exist, seriously and transparently assessing them, and refusing to back away from the mandate for change at an agency that historically has tended toward bureaucratic calcification rather than innovation.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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