The nine-member governing board of the state Department of Human Services, which has lost three members to resignations and one to death in the past 11 months, is back up to full strength.
Gov. Mary Fallin named two new members Friday to the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services, filling a vacancy and replacing a member whose term expired.
Fallin appointed Pam Kanaly, of Edmond, to replace Jay Chase, who died last month.
She also named Karen Waddell, of Edmond, to succeed Richard DeVaughn, of Enid, whose term expired this month.
Kanaly is president and co-founder of Arise Ministries, a national women's outreach organization founded in 2002 that works to strengthen families and support single mothers.
Waddell is president of the Lynn Institute for Healthcare Research.
Both Kanaly and Waddell are Republicans, as is Fallin.
Fallin, who took office last year, now has appointed six of the nine members on the commission, which is the governing body for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Commissioners are appointed by the governor to staggered nine-year terms, with one membership expiring each August.
She filled two resignations earlier this year, naming Brandon Clabes and Myron Pope to fill vacancies created by the May resignations of Steven Dow and Anne Roberts.
In September, Fallin named Brad Yarbrough to replace Bob Rawlings, who resigned, and Wes Lane to replace Dr. George Young whose term expired. She said then she was concerned about the “appearance of lax oversight on the part of DHS commissioners” concerning the death of a 5-year-old girl; DHS had placed the girl, Serenity Deal, who subsequently died from a beating.
Fallin named Yarbrough chairman of the commission, but he resigned as chairman in June because of the excessive time commitment; he remains as a commissioner. Fallin last month named Lane, a former Oklahoma County district attorney, to serve as chairman.
The past year has been tumultuous at DHS.
After a series of high-profile child abuse deaths, DHS settled a federal class-action lawsuit in January that alleged children were being harmed by their stays in the agency's care.
As part of that settlement, the agency agreed to help craft a series of child welfare reforms, called the Pinnacle Plan, that are to be overseen by three out-of-state child welfare experts.
Longtime DHS Director Howard Hendrick announced his retirement in January. Commissioners, who had hoped to name a new director by last month, still are searching for Hendrick's successor.
Preston Doerflinger, who serves on Fallin's Cabinet as finance secretary and previously served as state finance director, is serving as interim director of DHS. He succeeded Mental Health Commissioner Terri White, who first was named interim director but resigned in March after questions arose as to whether her service violated a prohibition against dual state office holding.
“The ongoing reforms at the Department of Human Services — including the implementation of the Pinnacle Plan — are essential in our efforts to improve child welfare services,” Fallin said in a statement. “Both Pam Kanaly and Karen Waddell are respected and successful community leaders with a great deal of experience working with families and children. I know both are ready for the challenge and committed to serving on the commission in order to help the agency to better protect and serve the children and citizens of Oklahoma.”