Oklahoma governor seeks special audit of Veterans Affairs Department
The governor has ordered a special audit of the state Veterans Affairs Department, which has come under scrutiny with allegations of mistreatment of residents at some of its seven veterans centers.
Gov. Mary Fallin said Monday her request for state Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones to conduct an operational audit of the agency comes after last week's announced retirement of the agency's executive director.
It is the governor's policy to request an audit after the resignation of an agency head, to help new leadership and possibly highlight areas of improvement, Fallin's office said.
Rich Putnam, one of eight commissioners appointed by Fallin in May as a shake-up of the agency's oversight board, said he supports the audit.
“It makes sense, actually,” Putnam said. “We were going to request one.”
Commissioners last week accepted the retirement of Martha Spear, who had served the past several years as executive director of the Veterans Affairs Department and who had worked for the agency 47 years. Commissioners will meet this month to discuss naming an interim executive director.
Putnam also announced during last week's special meeting that the directors of the Claremore and Sulphur veterans centers are leaving. He said more departures could happen.
A letter from Fallin seeking the state audit was hand-delivered Monday to Jones's office. It asks the auditor to review the efficiency and effectiveness of management, the efficiency and effectiveness of the oversight of the operations of the agency and the reasonableness of the Veterans Affairs Department.
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