| May 17, 2012

Cabinet model key to reforming ‘dysfunctional state government’

In a departure from the usual “dance of denial and ineptitude” that has typically characterized Oklahoma’s efforts to reform its broken Department of Human Services, we may be on the brink of witnessing something extraordinary this year, says Oklahoma City University law professor Andrew Spiropoulos. We may actually get reform right this time.

The key to reforming our “largely dysfunctional state government”—especially the executive branch—is “getting the structure right,” says Spiropoulos, who also serves as OCPA’s Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow.

The reformers propose that we jettison the failed bureaucrat and commission system in favor of the more effective cabinet officer model, in which the politically accountable governor, supervised by Senate confirmation of the director and several citizen oversight panels covering key areas of agency operations, hires and can fire the director.

This one change will make all the others possible. … As in any effective organization, the governor has both the power and responsibility for making the system work. She will remove any doubt that the time for change has arrived.

This is not a partisan issue. Spiropoulos has been making this argument since the dawn of the Brad Henry administration. Here’s hoping we finally get it right this year.

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