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In an effort to reduce its budget by four percent, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) is closing nearly three dozen offices across the state.
OKDHS has 92 offices and support buildings across Oklahoma. DHS Director Justin Brown said the agency plans to close about half of those over the next six months or so.
“It’s really a complete response to our workforce wanting to work in a different way and being effective in doing so,” Brown said. “And the strategy of moving to a customer-first and service-first platform.”
Facing reduced revenue projections for Fiscal Year 2021, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services is rolling out a “service-first” model that entails the elimination of 35 county offices and moving many employees to a telework environment.
Officials say there will be no FTE (full-time equivalent) furloughs or reductions under this plan and two-thirds of its employees will be assigned to a duty post in their current county.
Under the plan, OKDHS will deliver service to customers in areas without a physical office via telephone and the agency’s online portals, such as okdhslive.org.
“Technology is a useful pathway and can transform service delivery,” officials stated in a memo that details key points of the service-first model.
Office space will be made available to teleworking staff, and collaboration and hoteling models will be utilized as needed.
All Oklahoma Department of Human Services employees will have a state-issued cell phone and will be required to carry business cards that list contact information so they can be reached by customers and the community at large.
Offices to be closed are in the counties of: Adair, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coal, Craig, Custer, Delaware, Garvin, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Haskell, Hughes, Jefferson, Johnston, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, Noble, Logan, Major, Marshall, Mayes, McClain, Murray, Nowata, Okfuskee, Osage, Pawnee, Seminole, Tillman and Washita.