Gov. Stitt Responds To 200-Page State Audit On OMES

A state audit released this week shows tens of millions in questionable costs coming from the State's Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The audit also showed that OMES didn't get bids before hiring vendors. 

Friday, April 26th 2024, 5:47 pm

By: News 9, Haley Weger


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A state audit released this week shows tens of millions in questionable costs coming from the State's Office of Management and Enterprise Services. 

The audit also showed that OMES didn't get bids before hiring vendors. 

“We found several issues that we highlighted through some vendor contracts,” said State Auditor, Cindy Bird.

A scathing report from Bird says OMES abused billions of taxpayer funds while distributing federal COVID relief dollars.

“Had that been utilized for Oklahoma's neediest, we could have assisted 5000 more people a couple of things there,” said Bird.

Governor Stitt is raising some questions. 

"Why was this not out in the [2021] audit or the [2022] or the [2023] audit? Why does it come out today, talking about 2020 numbers,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Stitt says that during a time of uncertainty at the height of the pandemic, the state was just working to get relief dollars out as quickly as possible. “Because you're talking about a six month period of time during that catastrophic declaration of an emergency,” Stitt added.

With multiple factors in play in the 200-page audit, Stitt is now saying this may have been politically motivated. 

“You know, you've got an [Attorney General] that's already said he's running for governor. You've got an auditor who's running for lieutenant governor. You know, you connect the dots. There's some stuff that looks weird,” Stitt stated.

In a statement today, the AG’s office says that Gentner Drummond stands by his statement about the audit findings and will continue to work for accountability on behalf of Oklahoma taxpayers. 

“Let's hold people accountable, but let's not get politics involved in this stuff,” Stitt said.

Also, here at the State Capitol House Bill 4156 known as the immigration Bill is sitting on the governor's desk. He says he's still working through the logistics and hasn't decided if he'll sign it or not.

Cindy Byrd released a statement on Friday in response:

"Firstly, this audit covered federal expenditures for 2022, not 2020 as referenced by the Governor. Secondly, the findings were very similar to those reported last year, but the numbers in question are now larger. Two agencies have previously reported these deficiencies so these findings are no surprise to anyone.
The audit report is accurate and the concerns are real. I am hopeful the Governor will take time to read the report and take measures to correct these deficiencies that have resulted in the abuse of Oklahomans’ tax dollars."
~ Cindy Byrd, Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector"
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