State Department Of Health CFO Quits
OKLAHOMA CITY - Another bombshell at the state’s Department of Health. The department is already under investigation after it misspent $30-million. Now the agency’s chief financial officer is quitting, accusing the interim director of spying on the grand jury looking into the agency.
A couple of weeks ago, Health Department Chief Financial Officer Mike Romero testified before a House committee about the problems at the agency. He was one of the whistleblowers who reported the agency couldn’t make payroll and misspent 30-million dollars.
Thursday, Romero quit.
He didn’t want to go on camera, he says he doesn’t want to compromise the investigation.
But Romero says he had a heated discussion with interim health commissioner Preston Doerflinger over a memo where he says he, “...Disagreed to the proposal by OMES staff for OSDH (Oklahoma State Department of Health) to adopt a scheme to use federal funds as a cash flow for the coverage of upcoming payroll obligations.”
At the time, Doerflinger was the head of OMES, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, which the agency that oversees agency budgets when Romero says he was told to misuse federal funds.
Romero says Doerflinger, who has since been named to head the Department of Health, was angry because the memo contradicted testimony given to the grand jury. That’s something Doerflinger shouldn’t have known because the proceedings are closed.
In his resignation letter Romero writes, “He was apparently capable of fact checking my points with those made by the employee in that investigative meeting.” And, “The interim commissioner is using others, including his general counsel, to stay abreast of the proceedings.”
“This is outrageous that this is taking place at the Capitol,” said Representative Bobby Cleveland (R) Cleveland County, “And it always goes back to OMES and to Preston Doerflinger.”
Representative Kevin Calvey (R) Edmond added, “The very person who is alleged in this memo to have engaged in the witness tampering is the very person who is supposed to oversee the budgets of all state agencies. So how many other agencies have problems like what they have in the health department?”
Representative Josh Cockroft (R) is the Chair of House Investigative Committee. He said, “We’ve been told since day one that with this new administration the culture has changed over at the health department...that simply hasn’t happened.”
Doerflinger is refusing to comment.