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DATE: June 21, 2000
CONTACT: Peggy Wiebener
405/620-6476

Regier Announces Personnel Actions

Oklahoma Department of Health Acting Director Jerry Regier, announced at a press conference today that certain personnel actions and policy changes are being implemented as a further result of his review of existing personnel management practices at the Health Department. The actions are necessitated due to the recent discovery of an ongoing practice at the Health Department of employees being on the payroll without any apparent duties or supervision. This information is the result of an internal investigation and also was revealed in part by Doyle Carper, the former Deputy Commissioner of Local Health Services, who was the “paper” supervisor over many of these paid positions. The actions taken today are also necessary to ensure that a timely recalculation of Health Department time and effort records (time sheets) concerning these positions and others of a similar nature is conducted. This review will provide assurance that any further payments made with Department and/or State funds such as retirement annuities or salaries is fully justified and certified by the Department.

Secretary Regier sent a letter today to Director Edmonds of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) requesting that the retirement processing of payments of Roger Pirrong, former Deputy Commissioner, and former State Senator Jim E. Lane be held in abeyance until the Department reviews, re-calculates and re-certifies any previously certified time and effort records of these employees. In connection with the review, OPERS is being requested to hold in abeyance any ongoing annuity computation or processing of retirement requests until the review has been completed.

Because of improper management activities resulting in “Ghost Employment”, the Acting Director has terminated Gary York of Grady County, Oklahoma; Vernon Johnson of LeFlore County, Oklahoma; Frederick Joe Pierce of LeFlore County, Oklahoma; Rebecca Lane of Pittsburg County, Oklahoma; and accepted the resignations of Makala Bannister of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, and Jon K. Doolen of Atoka County, Oklahoma.

The Secretary has also today referred relevant information to the District Attorney's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Task Force for their further investigation and potential prosecution. He is also implementing policy changes at the department to insure all Department of Health payroll positions are needed, necessary, and fully supervised. A copy of the policy directive is attached.

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