Report portrays VanMeter as powerful intimidator

Friday, September 22nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- A management report commissioned by acting Health Department Director Jerry Regier is very critical of the department.

The report cites drunken parties at state lodges, political favoritism, ghost employees, and an environment of fear and intimidation within the department.

The report was released by the Department of Health on today.

It indicates that former commissioner Jerry Nida relinquished a substantial amount of his power and duties to former deputy commissioner Brent VanMeter VanMeter was arrested on May Second for allegedly taking a bribe from nursing home operator James Smart of Wewoka. Both have pleaded innocent to federal bribery charges. A trial is set for October Tenth.

The report says VanMeter developed his own circle of management, excluding Nida.

It says employees did what VanMeter said and were very loyal to him. He controlled them by instilling fear in the employees and used pay raises and promotions to ensure loyalty.