The State of Oklahoma’s health department is in the midst of a financial crisis, reports Oklahoma Watch.
The department laid off a number of employees this month and announced further job cuts in an attempt to shore up the unexpected cash crunch. The state has also requested a special audit of health department finances by State Auditor Gary Jones. The cash shortfall is so severe that the department has activated a state of emergency normally reserved for public health crises such as disease outbreaks.
What’s strange is that the department’s financial updates in June and July made it seem like everything was rolling along relatively smoothly. Yet, when the board met in August, officials announced a staggering budget gap.
The health department has said that the shortfall is due to obligations created in prior fiscal years. The department will cut 250 jobs by early next year.