The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

November 2, 2012

DHS office: NORCE item was a 'resolution' not a 'plan'

ENID, Okla. — Here is the full text of the Oklahoma Commission For Human Services resolution approved Thursday in Oklahoma City.

Sheree Powell of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Office of Communications said Sen. Patrick Anderson, R- Enid, did not get to preview the language before the vote because it was a “resolution” and “not a plan.” She said resolutions aren’t put out for public view or comment.

The commission refused to hear public comments from the standing-room-only crowd, and Chairman Wes Lane shut down Anderson as he attempted to address the panel, according to The Associated Press. Anderson accused Lane of making “a mockery” of the process.

The resolution includes the following language:

“Now therefore it is resolved by the Commission to direct the Developmental

Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) to develop and implement plans to transition all residents at the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center (SORC) and the Northern Oklahoma Resource Center at Enid (NORCE) into community based homes and to close the SORC facility no later than April 30, 2014; and to close the NORCE facility no later than August 31, 2015.”

See full resolution HERE

The agenda released Wednesday for the meeting included the following action item: “Discussion and possible vote on a plan to close the Northern Oklahoma Resource Center at Enid and the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center at Pauls Valley and transition all residents into community-based homes.”

In June, Michael Peck, an Enid optometrist and chairman of the property committee, proposed closing SORC and transferring many of the residents there to NORCE. Under Peck’s proposal, other SORC clients would have been placed in community-based group homes.

When that proposal came up for a vote in July, Gov. Mary Fallin requested the vote be delayed. After two more months without a decision, Fallin toured both NORCE and SORC in late September and met with legislators from Enid and Pauls Valley.

Powell said the commission considered the Peck plan at the June meeting, although all the current members were not on the board at that time.

Anderson said the Peck plan was not allowed on the agenda three times at the request of Fallin. The six commissioners voting to close NORCE and SORC were appointed by the governor.

In May, the House of Representatives passed a resolution asking DHS not to craft a plan for the future of NORCE and SORC while legislators were not in session.

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