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Allbaugh Wants Oklahoma Corrections Department Out Of OMES IT Consolidation

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh
Sue Ogrocki
Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections wants out of the state’s unified information technology system. Corrections director Joe Allbaugh criticized how the Office of Management and Enterprise Services runs the IT system during an interim legislative hearing Monday.

Allbaugh told the Senate General Government Committee staffing shortages at the state’s IT department have led to problems in his own agency. He said there are lag times when he asks for help, and he said there is a steep learning curve with technicians that he has to share with other agencies, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

One offering by the DOC, the offender look-up database available to the public, has been in the reprogramming phase for seven months, he said. It’s also difficult for some shared IT staff members to work in a prison environment. Allbaugh said one technician assigned to visit the Oklahoma State Penitentiary would not go through the visitor search process, so DOC had to call someone else, which delayed response time. “That’s not always easy to do for a lot of folks,” he said. “It affects our efficiency. It affects our ability to protect and maintain public safety.”

Since he took the job in January, Allbaugh has criticized his department’s antiquated computer system, which is backed up by paper filing system in use since the state was just a territory.

About five years ago, lawmakers ordered 88 agencies to unify their IT systems under one roof, including the DOC.

So far, OMES has transitioned 62 of the 88 agencies under its umbrella, as required by statute. It voluntarily contracts with another 29 agencies for various services. Officials have said the arrangement keeps sensitive data more secure and reduces duplicative staffing. In the most recent quarterly report issued on the consolidation process, Chief Information Officer Bo Reese wrote that the state has saved an estimated $125 million. “Is it perfect?” Reese said Monday. “No. We’re still working it out.”

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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