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New Oklahoma health department leader says finances grim

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - The temporary new leader of the Oklahoma State Department of Health says the agency is suffering from financial mismanagement that stretches back more than five years and needs an immediate infusion of cash from the Legislature just to meet payroll for the next few months.

Gov. Mary Fallin's top finance official, Secretary of Finance and Revenue Preston Doerflinger (DOR'-fling-ur), delivered the grim financial picture and asked the Legislature for an emergency $30 million appropriation during a briefing on Monday at the Cleveland County Health Department in Norman.

Doerflinger says that for years, health department officials improperly juggled money between agency accounts and expanded the agency's mission and operations beyond its funding levels. He says the mismanagement extended back to 2011.

The state auditor's office is currently investigating the agency's finances.

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