MAUGHAN TO SEEK RE-ELECTION AS COUNTY COMMISSIONER
District Two Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan said today he will be a candidate for re-election this year.
“There are still a lot of things I want to accomplish for the citizens of Oklahoma County and for the residents of District Two,” Maughan said. “Since my first day in office I have sought to go above and beyond the basics as county commissioner, and I have been gratified by the support of voters in the past. I pledge a strong and vigorous campaign.”
Maughan anticipated recent criminal justice reforms when he created the SHINE community service program in 2010. SHINE puts low level non-violent offenders to work on public service projects when they are sentenced to perform such work. The program was recognized as a national Bright Idea award winner by the Kennedy School at Harvard University, and has been emulated as far away as Rwanda. It has been estimated that it saves taxpayers more than a million dollars each year.
“We also created the SHINE for Students program as an outgrowth of SHINE,” Maughan said. The program encourages and recognizes volunteerism among high school and college students.
Maughan also created a program to remove red cedar trees from public and private land in the county. Those trees are wildfire hazards and are responsible for many allergy symptoms.
In addition he was he was the first to call for the creation of an independent trust to manage the troubled Oklahoma County Jail. That jail trust was finally created late last year and is now being implemented.
“I gave considerable thought to seeking re-election and one thing that decided it in favor of running was the need to follow through on the jail trust and assure that it is fully implemented and up and running,” he said. “I am the only commissioner who was present at its inception and I think that continuity is important.”
Maughan said he had waited to announce his intentions until County Commissioners took final action on a finding by the State Auditor that required a funds transfer from the SHINE account to the District Two highway fund, to cover the cost of use of county equipment on SHINE projects like roadside cleanup.
“Everything has been done to satisfy the State Auditor’s bookkeeping rules,” Maughan said.
Maughan said he has always sought to be accessible to District Two residents, giving his cell phone number (824-3120) to citizens.
“My goal continues to be to be the kind of public servant I would want representing me in office,” he said.
CONTACT: Brian Maughan at 824-3120
Oklahoma County commissioner calls for creation of trust to oversee sheriff's office.
Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan today called for the
creation of a non-political trust to oversee future operations of the
Oklahoma County Jail and the Sheriff’s Office.
“Like thousands of other Oklahoma County taxpayers, I have
been appalled by the financial mess that surrounds the Sheriff’s Office,”
Maughan said. “The most recent report by State Auditor Gary Jones which
showed more than $3 million in missing and unaccountable equipment
followed the previous revelations of mismanagement surrounding the non-payment of an additional $3.3 million in medical costs. No matter who is elected as our next sheriff, it is time to put some permanent safeguards in place to prevent this kind of scandal in the future.”
Maughan said he has long supported an independent trust to oversee jail operations. He said his new proposal would create an appointed trust of from five to seven members who would oversee and scrutinize all operations of the Sheriff’s Office.
Maughan was joined in his reform proposal by three other elected county officials – Court Clerk Rick Warren, County Clerk David Hooten and County Assessor Leonard Sullivan.
“The Sheriff’s Office receives the largest general fund appropriation in county government, yet all we hear from the current acting sheriff, Undersheriff Taylor, is how underfunded and broke they are,” Maughan said. “How can you take that seriously from an agency that can’t even account for 18 automobiles?”
Maughan said county commissioners have frequently voted to authorize the disposal of surplus or damaged property by the Sheriff’s Office, as they do for all county agencies.
“This audit shows that those requests were inaccurate at best,” he said. “The only recourse I can see to prevent this kind of mess from occurring again is to put adults who are advocates for the taxpayers in a position of authority over this agency.”
Maughan has been outspoken on issues related to the sheriff’s budget and spending practices since it was first learned that former Sheriff John Whetsel had failed to spend budgeted funds on jail medical services, running up a $3.3 million unpaid bill that has since resulted in a lawsuit against the Board of County Commissioners.
Last fall he twice moved to suspend Whetsel, but failed to win the support of the other two county commissioners.