OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Department of Health’s top lawyer has been ousted from the agency following the resignation of its commissioner and his top deputy amid allegations of mismanagement.

The department’s new interim head, Preston Doerflinger, forced out General Counsel Donald Maisch on Tuesday, a day after Health Commissioner Terry Cline and Senior Deputy Commissioner Julie Cox-Kain resigned, The Oklahoman reported . Business Planning Director Felesha Scanlan has also resigned.

The Board of Health says the agency faces a financial shortfall following years of overspending and fiscal mismanagement. Records indicate that authorities had been alerted to possible financial problems at the agency.

A whistleblower’s letter to then-Attorney General Scott Pruitt about three years ago asked him to investigate what the letter described as “several crimes being committed at the State Department of Health.”

The allegations in the letter include misappropriation of public funds, the same concern that now plagues the department. It does not include much detail beyond alleging mismanagement of federal funds and personnel grievances.

It’s not clear whether Pruitt — now administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — investigated the complaint. After receiving it, his office forwarded the letter to the state Health Department.

“Since this is a matter within your jurisdiction, we are referring it to you for such action as you deem appropriate,” Pruitt’s office wrote.

A separate complaint signed “concerned employees” was sent to the FBI. The letter asked for help after several administrators quit “because they were (asked) to do things that were neither legal nor appropriate.”

The FBI could not confirm the letter’s authenticity.


Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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