In spite of a law to deter it, Oklahoma lawmakers routinely transition immediately from the Legislature to a high-paying state job, enjoying a golden parachute as they exit elected office.
It appears that won't be the case when a new director is named at the Department of Human Services. Neither of the publicly identified top candidates comes from Oklahoma's political community.
Eric Bost previously served as chief executive officer of the Texas Department of Human Services, and Ed Lake is a retired deputy commissioner of the Department of Human Services in Tennessee.
We believe this is a positive development and a step in the right direction. Given the magnitude of the problems facing the agency and the need to rebuild DHS's reputation, the next director should be an experienced professional who receives the job based on merit, not political connections.
When Howard Hendrick was named DHS director in 1998, he had served 12 years in the state Senate and on the budget committee overseeing the agency. His appointment was well received, but his record was marred by the mounting problems that preceded his retirement.