In The Know: Doctor, two others at medical examiner’s office fired after investigation

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. E-mail your suggestions for In The Know items to You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

A doctor and two supervisors at the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office have been fired. State employee payroll has fallen by more than $94M in the last two years.  OK Policy previously blogged about the shrinking state workforce.  The Tahlequah Daily Press interviewed doctors, legislators, and experts about the Affordable Care Act and what Medicaid expansion could mean for Oklahoma.

The National Weather Service reported record-breaking temperatures across Oklahoma and parts of the state are experiencing extreme drought.  The panel that oversees the Department of Human Services will discuss the possibility of closing a facility for the developmentally disabled in Pauls Valley.

Applicants face excessive wait times because of too few examiners at DPS to issue driver’s license exams.  A jury convicted an Oklahoma State University basketball player of sexually assaulting two women at a party.

The Number of the Day is the number of households with children (≤18) in Oklahoma with a mother who also works outside the home.  In today’s Policy Note, Economic Policy Institute marked the one-year anniversary of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with a look at the bureau’s recent enforcement actions and publications.

In The News

Doctor, two supervisors fired from Oklahoma medical examiner’s office

A longtime doctor at the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office and two supervisors have been fired after an investigation.  Dr. Andrew Sibley, investigator supervisor Brenda Kelley and administrative supervisor Ashley Hancock were fired July 12. The three Tulsa employees had been on administrative leave since late May when they were forced to leave work.  Officials called Tulsa police beforehand to assist, if necessary, with their removal in May, The Oklahoman was told.

Read more from NewsOK at

Oklahoma’s government payroll shrinking

The payroll decreased 6 percent between fiscal years 2010 and 2012. The total amount paid to employees fell more than $94 million over the time period, down from approximately $1.5 billion to approximately $1.4 billion.  The Office of State Finance processes payrolls for approximately 130 state government entities and releases the data each month. The World used monthly payrolls from fiscal years 2010 through 2012 to calculate state, agency and individual compensation totals. The analysis excludes the higher education positions that until recently the office processed separately.

Read more from the Tulsa World article at

The shrinking state employee workforce

In the wake of three consecutive years of steep budget cuts, the number of state employees staffing correctional facilities, inspecting restaurants and nursing homes, serving victims of abuse and neglect, and performing other public functions has declined sharply.  In FY 2012, state government employed 35,504 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees. (The FY 2012 numbers are the year-to-date average for the first nine months of the fiscal year.) This is a drop of 3,804 workers, or 9.8, percent, since FY 2009.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog at

Officials: ‘Rationing’ fears largely unfounded

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, meaning approximately 200,000 Oklahomans who did not have health insurance will gain access through either Medicare and/or Medicaid.  Under the new law, co-pays for preventive care will be abolished. Theoretically, this would encourage people who previously couldn’t afford doctor visits to seek them, thus allowing doctors to diagnose illnesses early – before they become prohibitively costly to treat.

Read more from the Tahlequah Daily Press at

Oklahoma Weather 2012: Record-Breaking Heat Felt Across State

Saturday saw the return of record-breaking heat in Oklahoma.  The National Weather service said Sunday that four records were broken Saturday and four others were tied.  Ralston topped its previous record of 107 degrees in 1974 by one degree. Tuskahoma reached 110, Watonga clocked in at 109 and Altus saw 107.  The records that were tied were 110 degrees in Seminole, 109 at Hobart, 106 at Fort Gibson and 103 at the Tenkiller Ferry Dam.

Read more from the Associated Press at

Oklahoma DHS Commission to discuss center closing

The possibility of closing a facility in Pauls Valley that houses some of Oklahoma’s most severely developmentally disabled residents will be discussed during a regular meeting of the panel that oversees the Department of Human Services.  The Commission for Human Services will meet Tuesday in Oklahoma City.  The commission is expected to receive comments from groups that represent residents of both the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center in Pauls Valley and the Northern Oklahoma Resource Center in Enid.

Read more from the Associated Press at

Oklahoma driver’s license exam problems in need of solutions

Applicants are arriving at exam stations in the middle of the night to camp out for a coveted place in line. They can’t reserve a time with a phone call. This isn’t a Black Friday doorbuster sale on the day after Thanksgiving. It’s every day that the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety offers exams.  The problem, of course, is money. The state doesn’t have enough examiners. It doesn’t pay enough to attract examiners when positions come open. We suspect the same would be true if car tags and driver’s license renewals were handled solely by the state instead of private contractors.

Read more from NewsOK at

Jury finds Oklahoma State basketball player guilty of sexual battery, rape by instrumentation

“’No’ means just that: It means ‘no,’” Tontz said during closing arguments earlier Monday. “These girls felt dehumanized, embarrassed.”  Both women testified during the trial and said they identified Williams as their attacker after police showed them a photo of the Cowboys basketball team. One woman said Williams held her against her will and dragged her in a yard. She said the attack happened in the basement of the house and that no one came to her aid.

Read more from the Associated Press at

Quote of the Day

It’s insane to say we don’t want federal dollars, and if we want to be esoteric about it, let’s close Tinker AFB. It’s bogus to use that argument. The feds are going to spend the money, and they may as well spend it here in Oklahoma. There are people out there who seem to think we’re better off depriving people of health care. We can afford to give everybody health care.

Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah, on Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma under the Affordable Care Act

Number of the Day


Number of households with children (≤18) in Oklahoma with a mother who also works outside the home, nearly 2/3rds of all such households in the state, 2010

Source: Senate Joint Economic Committee

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Happy birthday, CFPB

Tomorrow, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau completes its first year of operation. Created under the Dodd-Frank Act, we’re starting to see the benefits of a strong federal agency that protects consumers from the dangers posed by an unchecked financial industry.  The CFPB notched its first enforcement action—and hopefully, the first of many—yesterday with the announcement that Capital One will pay up to $210 million to settle federal charges that it violated consumer protection requirements.

Read more from Economic Policy Institute at

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