Ex-official say agency was 'financial time bomb' - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Ex-official say agency was 'financial time bomb'

By The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Latest on a budget shortfall at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (all times local):

4 p.m.

A former top financial officer at the Oklahoma State Department of Health says the agency was "a financial time bomb" before authorities discovered a $30 million budget shortfall.

Former Chief Operating Officer Deborah Nichols testified Tuesday before an Oklahoma House investigative committee about the financial turmoil that has resulted in the resignations of Health Commissioner Terry Cline and others.

Nichols says the agency was overstaffed and couldn't pay its bills on time when the shortfall was discovered in June. Nichols says she recommended that authorities seek supplemental state funding in July, but no action was taken.

Nichols says many issues led to the agency's financial problems including a lack of accepted auditing and accounting processes.

Earlier Tuesday Attorney General Mike Hunter said the FBI and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is joining his investigation into the health department.

11:20 a.m.

Oklahoma's attorney general says the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is joining his investigation of financial mismanagement at the state Department of Health.

Attorney General Mike Hunter said Tuesday that the FBI and Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General will investigate the use of federal funds at the agency, which has experienced a $30 million shortfall.

Hunter says attorneys and investigators with his office will work with federal authorities and the state auditor to examine the management of state and federal money at the Health Department.

Several top Health Department officials have resigned over the financial issues, including Health Commissioner Terry Cline. The Legislature appropriated $30 million during a special session last month so the agency could pay its bills.

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