By Kevin Hassler, Associate Editor
Enid News and Eagle
Retired Enid dentist Richard DeVaughn has no regrets about his time on the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services, the panel that oversees Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
His term expired Aug. 5, ending nine years on OCHS, including six as chairman.
Gov. Mary Fallin announced the appointment of DeVaughn’s successor Friday. She named Karen Waddell, of Edmond, to OCHS. She will serve through August 2021.
Waddell is president of Lynn Institute for Health-care Research. She also serves as president of two other companies, Lynn Health Science Institute, a clinical trials organization, and Karen Vinyard Waddell and Associates, a company that specializes in training programs for at-risk children and their families. She previously served as the assistant vice president of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
DeVaughn, a Democrat, said he did not expect to be re-appointed by Fallin.
“Gov. Fallin is not bipartisan one bit,” he said, “so she prefers to have Republicans on there.”
DeVaughn had been one of the most outspoken OCHS members concerning the future of two state-run centers for the developmentally disabled.
A plan that had been considered by OCHS would have closed Southern Oklahoma Resource Center in Pauls Valley and transferred many of the residents there to Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid. Under the plan, other SORC clients would be placed in community-based group homes.
However, at Fallin’s request, OCHS delayed a possible July vote on the plan, called the Peck Plan because it had been developed by Michael Peck, an Enid optometrist and chairman of the OCHS property committee.
DeVaughn decried the move in July, calling it a “typical political game.”
He said Friday not being able to see the process concerning NORCE and SORC through to its conclusion was disappointing.
“I wish I could have seen the situation through,” he said.
He said OCHS now will do whatever Fallin wants.
“The governor wants complete control on it,” he said. “It will be her deal, not the commission’s.”
He said a vote on the future of NORCE and SORC is expected at the September OCHS meeting.
“We’ll see what her plan is,” he said.
Fallin on Friday also named Pam Kanaly, of Edmond, to OCHS. She replaces Jay Chase, who died. Kanaly is president and co-founder of Arise Ministries, a national women’s outreach organization founded in 2002, that works to strengthen families and support single mothers.
DeVaughn said one reason Fallin wanted to delay an OCHS vote on the future of NORCE and SORC was because “she knew she could put two more on the commission,” if the vote was pushed back.
Other than the disappointment over the NORCE and SORC situation, DeVaughn said he enjoyed his time on the commission.
“It was a great experience,” he said Friday.
DHS, he said, “has a great impact in Garfield County,” including employing some 600 people. The need for DHS services, which range from services for children to adult protective services, is great as well, DeVaughn said.