DHS Takes Step Forward with Ed Lake Hire

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

Although I am pleased to see Ed Lake accept the position as director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, I do not think it means our work is done on reforming the agency. Lake appears to be a strong partner moving forward, but as he himself has admitted, the job will be tough.

Lake is a retired deputy director of the Tennessee Department of Human Services. I was pleased to see the Human Services Commission hire someone from outside the state and with extensive experience to qualify him for the position. Lake has worked in the trenches as a child welfare caseworker and a food stamp office supervisor in addition to his numerous administrative and leaderships roles.

Moving forward, I will be keeping a watchful eye on how Lake and other agency administrators execute the reforms we enacted during the 2012 legislative session. I will also be keeping an eye on the implementation of the Pinnacle Plan, spending decisions and attempts at increasing accountability.

I have one other sign of positive progress to report. The DHS organizational chart no longer resembles a science project. The agency, under the direction of one of the new laws we enacted, has streamlined the chart so that there is one administrator over the child welfare division, who reports directly to the DHS director. I’ve also been told that information is regularly traveling up the appropriate chain of command, which I understand was not the case in the past.

As always, I would love to hear from you. During the interim I will be traveling the district, but will regularly check the calls I receive at the Capitol office at (405) 557-7407.

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