Gov. Fallin Questions Department of Corrections' Way Of Managing Money

Monday, May 13th 2013, 7:08 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Governor Mary Fallin says she has serious questions about how the Department of Corrections is managing hundreds of millions of our taxpayer dollars.

Governor's Fallin's concerns came after her budget office discovered about $16.6 million in the agency's accounts, over a two year period that the DOC said it didn't have.

A discrepancy News 9 tried to talk to the DOC about, but no one would address it either on camera or in a statement.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections manages the nation's third largest prison population with a $463 million budget. But Governor and her staff say they now have concerns about how the Department is spending, accounting for, and keeping track of taxpayer dollars.

"We have questions about their accounting practices," said Finance Secretary Preston Doefrlinger.

Doerflinger points to a document the DOC gave to them December 28, that states the Department has $6.7 million in the Revolving Fund and $1.4 million in their Inmate and Employee Welfare fund.

But just two days later when Doerflinger's people checked those accounts, the Revolving Fund actually had $13.6 million, and the employee Welfare: $3.7 million.

They then discovered the DOC did the same thing last year to the tune of $7.4 million.

"For this agency, it's probably a symbol of a bigger issue and until we have a higher confidence in their accounting practices we're not going to be interested in providing additional resources," said Doerflinger.

"Nobody wants to put more money in the prisons, there's no political benefit," counters Sean Wallace, the Director of the Oklahoma Corrections Professionals Association.

But Sean Wallace argues the discrepancy is more likely an excuse so the legislature doesn't have to give the DOC more money. Wallace represents the corrections employees who seem to be caught in the middle, without a raise in the past seven years.

"They're going to continue working 60 hours a week at least, they're going to keep getting called in because there's nobody to work, and they're sick of it. They're tired they're exhausted."

A spokesperson from the Governor's office says if the DOC had allocated its money more wisely maybe the agency wouldn't be in the position it is today.