Lawmaker calls for firings over OSBI scandals
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
A state lawmaker is calling for firings amid employee scandals at the state's top law enforcement agency.
State Representative Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, said the problems uncovered during multiple FOX 25 Investigations show a need for more oversight of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
It all started in late January when dozens of OSBI employees signed a multiple page complaint to the commission that oversees the agency. The complaints covered concerns about everything from some working conditions to problems with the agency's leadership.
Shortly after the commission failed to take action on those complaints, some employees said administrators, including agency director Stan Florence engaged in retaliation for signing onto the letter.
“State employees deserve a lot better than that,” Cleveland told FOX 25. “And state employees should never be, if they have a complaint, they should never be retaliated against that is just absolutely wrong.”
Representative Cleveland is chair of the House Public Safety Committee, which has jurisdiction over matters involving the OSBI.
“I'm an elected official I'm basically the lobbyist for the people of Oklahoma,” Cleveland said, “And they have the right to know if we've got an agency up there, especially in law enforcement, that is mistreating employees.
Chief among the concerns, the fact the OSBI had employees in a building known to have mold problems before the building was ever purchased. A FOX 25 investigation detailed how OSBI administrators provided information to commissioners that was contrary to what their own internal records showed about the condition of the building and safety of employees.
“Someone has fallen behind,” Cleveland said, “Either the commissioners are not doing a good job or the director is not doing a good job. Obviously the director has problems, but it’s commissioner that are supposed to help them solve problems, but in four months nothing has happened.”
During their regularly scheduled meeting in May, commissioners spent several hours behind closed doors hearing complaints from an attorney representing several employees and speaking with director Stan Florence about his future at the agency. Ultimately, the commissioners said they would continue to investigate but approved keeping Florence on the job.
Cleveland says the safety of state employees is too important to continue to kick the can down the road.
“I'm going to do everything I can to find out exactly what's going on and someone needs to be terminated.”
Cleveland says the longer the controversy continues the more likely it becomes that the OSBI will face more talk of consolidation, which would mean merging it with another law enforcement agency with different leadership.
The OSBI did not respond to our request for a response to representative Cleveland’s comments. The chairman of the OSBI Commission did not return our request to talk about what the commission is doing to ensure the safety of employees.