Howe Democrat to lead study

Thursday, September 21st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The chairman of a special state House subcommittee is leading a review of the Governor's Cabinet, which he says is costly but ineffective.

Rep. Kenneth Corn, D-Howe, said he will ask Gov. Frank Keating to appear before the committee and give his thoughts on how the system works.

"I have nothing against this governor, or any governor for that matter, having a cabinet," Corn said. "But that cabinet needs to be well-organized, cost effective and have its powers clearly defined."

"Somewhere the cabinet system has drifted off course," he said.

Corn is chairman of a House Rules subcommittee charged with examining the cabinet system, created by the Legislature in 1986 at the end of Gov. George Nigh's second term.

State law says the system is designed to "advise the governor and to advise entities of policy changes by the governor and to coordinate information."

The system, Corn said, causes confusion on financial, statutory and even constitutional levels.

"The Governor's Cabinet costs more than $700,000 a year," he said. "And we have some cabinet secretaries in de facto positions over statewide elected officials. Further, in some agencies, there is total confusion on whether the constitutional board or the cabinet secretary is in control."

Corn said his panel will spend the next five months reviewing the system, talking to agency heads, former cabinet members, current cabinet secretaries and state employees.

As far as fixing the problem, Corn said: "We can streamline the system. We can clearly define its cost and responsibilities. Or we can eliminate the cabinet or leave the system pretty much as it is.

But whatever we do, we are going to do it after we've examined the issue from all angles."

The cabinet system is not a sacred cow, Corn said, adding that the subcommittee will meet as often as necessary and file a report with the House leadership in December.