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Senator Wants Gov. Keating to Produce Promised Review of Controversial Contracts

State Senator Larry Dickerson is asking Governor Keating to publicly release the results of his promised review of two controversial state contracts involving the Governor's Marriage Initiative and Safe and Drug Free Schools program.

Last month, the Poteau legislator asked that the contracts not be renewed, citing a series of questionable expenditures that have been documented in news reports.

"After all that we have learned about the contracts, I don't think it would be good public policy to just rubber stamp them and continue throwing tax dollars their way. If Governor Keating disagrees, I would like to know why, not just in a sound bite, but in some sort of very detailed, documented way," said Senator Dickerson.

In a letter to Governor Keating, Senator Dickerson asked for a documented review of the two contracts held by Public Strategies, an Oklahoma City public relations firm operated by consultant Mary Myrick. In his correspondence, the lawmaker pointed out that the Governor himself promised a contract review when reporters asked him about the subject in March.

"Governor Keating promised a review almost seven months ago. I'm just asking that it be a thorough review and that the results be released to the public. Just a one-page, window dressing evaluation won't do," the legislator said.

The two contracts total approximately $700,000 a year and are currently up for renewal. At the direction of Health and Human Services Secretary Jerry Regier, Myrick was originally awarded the contracts on a "sole source" basis, meaning there was no competition for the job. The contracts were renewed the following year when no competing bids were filed.

The work on the marriage initiative came under scrutiny in March when it was learned that Myrick was billing the state for reading books, watching videos and building crowds for media events related to the project. Questions were raised again in April when it was revealed that Myrick was also being paid several hundred thousands dollars to stage one-day conferences for Governor Keating's Safe and Drug Free Schools program.

Contact info
Senate Communications Division - (405) 521-5605