With all the widely disbursed reports of waste and mismanagement in government (at all levels right down to school boards), it is refreshing to be able to comment on a few examples of elected officials and employees who appear to be acting as true “public servants.”
It has been my pleasant surprise and good fortune to have seen reports, and experience such treatment recently, and in some cases for some time. While often verbally expressing my appreciation for much better-than-expected service from employees, it just seems time to put this in writing for further exposure.
Beginning in 2014, it came to my attention that the late Oklahoma Commissioner of Labor Mark Costello reported he had used his personal vehicle in his travels throughout the state in furtherance of his duties. In addition, he seemed to be completely fair in his decision-making. He had also managed to accomplish the same, and more, in his office with a reduced staff, and thus expense. It was a shock and pain to go through his loss, especially the manner it occurred.
Then in late December, a story by Rick M. Green of the Oklahoman, appeared in the daily paper in Tulsa that carried the headline: “Insurance chief open to forgoing state appropriation for his department.” It had been known to me that Insurance Commissioner John Doak had been acting in a hands-on manner since first taking office and usually appeared on the scene as soon as possible after one of the natural disasters that have occurred in very recent years. It seems that there is a source of existing fees for that department that he feels would be sufficient for his operations.
To add to that taxpayer benefit, a month later there was a story, from the same reporter that carried the headline, “Pruitt asks state to cut $6M from his office’s funds.” The body of the story carried the words that Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt felt he could do this to assist in the problem with reduced revenue now being experienced at the State level. Pruitt has, in my opinion, been the most pro-active and aggressive (for the citizens) of any occupant of that office since my return home in 1986. It would appear to me that he is fulfilling his duty to act for our interests against the current crop of frivolous lawsuit filers and judicial mis-decision-makers.
Before those three, State Auditor Gary Jones had shown the amount of bloat in state employees by a substantial reduction in his staff (when he took office) and accomplishing the legally required audits of each of the 77 counties. This had not been done for years in some cases.
On a personal basis, it has been my very pleasant surprise to find that it is possible to “get things done” when needed by contacting the administrative assistant of members of the Legislature directly. In every case where this has been deemed necessary by me, the reception has been most courteous, friendly and helpful and it is my hope to be able to visit the Capitol soon to personally express my gratitude and pleasure for the assistance successfully rendered. We should remember that our legislators are “part time” and each has her/his own job or business that demands attention. So it has been my policy to go straight to where things get done. Also, when something is done by the officeholder as wished, it is my policy to call the office and say so. Not to be left out, it has been necessary for me to contact the Tulsa County Treasurer and Assessor offices since the year began and each time was greeted with a pleasant and helpful person who promptly accomplished what was needed. The same was true when contact was made with an agent in the local Social Security office and the office of Oklahoma Human Services. I also had reason to make contact with the FBI about possible e-mail fraud, and experienced a friendly and informative communication, with thanks for contacting them.
Perhaps these instances are, hopefully, a portent of an improved future for us.