Budget woes reach Garvin County Health Department

By Jeff Shultz

Two Garvin County Health Department employees received their pink slips recently due to budget shortfalls and mismanagement issues at the State Department of Health.
According to Keith Reed, district manager for Garvin County, the two employees who were laid off were a District Nursing Manager and an Administrative Clerk.
Joleyne Temple was the District Nursing Manager who received notice on December 4 that she would be dismissed.

“My last day was March 2,” she said. “As far as I can tell there was no rhyme or reason to how they decided who to let go. It’s like they put everyone’s name in a hat and drew out names.”
Temple added she had been with the health department for 28 years and couldn’t understand why she would be fired when she had so much tenure.
Reed told the News Star the process to determine who would be dismissed was performed by a committee of people at the State Department of Health.
“I wasn’t in that group, but it’s my understanding that the committee looked at all the districts in the state to determine how many people from each district should be let go.
The group factored in longevity issues in determining who would be fired, Reed said.
“In my case, I had two Nursing Managers in my district, Joleyne was one and I had another in Cleveland County.
“The Nursing Manager in Cleveland County had more tenure than Joleyne, therefore Joleyne was the one that had to be dismissed.”
Reed said there were 150 classified employees – such as Nursing Managers – statewide that were let go. There were also 37 unclassified employees that received their pink slips prior to December 4.
“Those unclassified employees did not get a 90 day notice like the classified employees did.
“I’m not happy to lose any of the employees in my district.” Reed added.
Reed did say he didn’t anticipate any more cuts at the county level.
Meanwhile, Temple is hoping her recently acquired nursing degree will open some doors for her as she searches for a new job.
“Bottom line, this is a sad day for Oklahoma,” she added.