More DHS Criticism

Oklahoma City, OK – DHS criticized for process of hiring attorneys

(Information in the following story is from: The Oklahoman,

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) An Oklahoma Department of Human Services commissioner is criticizing the process used in hiring an outside law firm to represent the agency in a federal lawsuit.

DHS has paid about $6.3 million to outside attorneys to represent the agency in the lawsuit by New York-based Children's Rights. The lawsuit calls for an overhaul of DHS' foster care program.

Commissioner Steven Dow told The Oklahoman in a copyright story that the hiring of private attorneys was discussed only in executive session. Dow says he believes the decision should be voted on by the full commission in public.

The law firm's contract was renewed by DHS Director Howard Hendrick and attorney Charles Waters. Waters said the authority to enter a contract is an executive function that does not require commission approval.