The investigation into the Oklahoma Health Department debacle is turning into the shit-show blame game everyone has expected.
Naturally, one of Mary Fallin's most trusted lieutenants – Preston Doerflinger – is taking center stage. Less than two months after he was put in charge of the failing institution, he hopped on Facebook to blame State Auditor Gary Jones for not warning others about the Health Department's financial mismanagement that, friendly reminder, occurred under the watch of Mary Fallin's administration.
In his first Facebook post in more than a month, Oklahoma Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger has said State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones should resign, claiming the 2018 gubernatorial candidate has been “asleep at the wheel” amid issues at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
“Not only should he resign his current position as state auditor owing to gross incompetence,” Doerflinger wrote, “He should also end his bid to be our future governor which I predict NOW he does in the very near future. It’s time to put this guy(Gary Jones) out to pasture.”...
Doerflinger said Jones — a statewide elected official — should have to explain why he did not ring alarm bells when previous audits reportedly showed the agency was not “closing out” accounts.
Doerflinger brings up a good point! Jones should have told someone about the financial mess. The only problem is that Jones did tell someone – Preston Doerflinger.
Although it claims Jones told “no one” about OSDH issues, Doerflinger’s Facebook post comes just more than three days after Jones testified before the House Investigation Committee that he first told Doerflinger of problems at the health agency Sept. 1. Doerflinger’s previous testimony implied Jones first talked to him in October, though it mentioned an earlier meeting without a date.
Doerflinger, who the Oklahoma Board of Health appointed Oct. 30 to oversee the embattled agency while its previous leadership is investigated for potential criminal behavior, has become the House committee’s initial focus for its own political investigation.
To media and in testimony, Jones has said Doerflinger was the first and only person he told of the issues outside of his own office.
“The person who might be able to avert what would be imminent would be the secretary of finance,” Jones told committee members Dec. 14. “[Doerflinger] called me back, and I said, ‘We’ve got major concerns and they may not be able to make payroll in a few months."
Back in November, we laughed at the irony of Mary Fallin embracing the Peter Principle and putting the one person who couldn't manage our state budget in charge of fixing an agency deep in financial turmoil. Maybe we should have been crying instead? Expect the problems at the health department to get worse before they get better.