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Oklahoma corrections officials misreported fund balances to governor

Oklahoma Department of Corrections officials grossly underreported to Gov. Mary Fallin the amount of cash held in two key agency funds as she was preparing her state budget recommendations for each of the past two years, documents obtained by The Oklahoman reveal.
by Randy Ellis Published: May 2, 2013
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Preston Doerflinger, director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, said he believes the governor's request was clear.

“One of two things happened,” Doerflinger said Wednesday. “Either they misunderstood a very simple question or there is a significant — I would say gross — underreporting of what the balances were in these accounts.”

“That concerns me even more,” Doerflinger said, after being read Sawyer's explanation. “Not understanding what balance means — which is cash available.”

Doerflinger said he is thankful that former State Auditor Steve Burrage is on the Corrections Department's governing board because he believes Burrage will get to the bottom of the issue.

“The bottom line is we need good, accurate information from the agencies to be able to make responsible decisions,” Doerflinger said. “If we can deal accurately with each other, then we can best deploy the resources that we have….There's no question that the DOC has needs, but the problem is when you've got monies sitting in revolving accounts that appear to not be accurate and that they're not utilizing appropriately, then how best are we to know and what confidence are we to have in taking into consideration the need for additional resources.”

Doerflinger said the governor would love to see improvement in prison programs and pay for correctional officers, but currently “we have little confidence in the accounting practices that are occurring at the Department of Corrections.”

Weintz said it is now clear to the governor that “the Department of Corrections has millions of dollars in revolving funds to address its immediate needs.”

“Governor Fallin knows there are many hardworking public servants at DOC, and she respects the work they do,” Weintz said.

“Their leadership has not served them well by failing to fully and accurately disclose the agency's finances.”

by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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