Governor Mary Fallin today requested that Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones conduct an operational audit of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA). The request (see attached letter) comes following the announced resignation of ODVA Executive Director Martha Spear. It is Governor Fallin's policy to request an audit following the resignation of an agency head in order to help the transition to new leadership and to highlight possible areas of improvement.
Fallin's letter asks the state auditor to:
* Review the efficiency and effectiveness of management
* Review the efficiency and effectiveness of the oversight of the operations of Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs
* Review the reasonableness of the expenditures of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs
* Review the expenditures of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs administration for compliance with appropriate state statutes and regulations
"We owe a tremendous debt to the men and women who have served this nation in the military," Fallin said. "Although that debt can never be fully repaid, it starts by ensuring the state of Oklahoma is properly caring for our veterans and offering high quality services in the most efficient manner possible. The information we receive from this audit will help the new director of the ODVA to increase accountability, financial transparency and oversight, and improve the overall quality of the agency."
In May, Fallin replaced 8 of the 9 members of the War Veterans Commission, which oversees the ODVA. Fallin said the new membership would help to provide a change in direction for the agency, which had come under scrutiny for allegations of abuse and neglect at the state's veterans facilities.
"Even one instance of abuse or neglect at our veterans facilities is unacceptable and horrifying," Fallin said. "The new members of the commission are working diligently to protect our veterans and to improve the quality of services they receive from the state."