DHS responds to allegations against employee

The Department of HumanServices has confirmed that aLeFlore County woman hasbeen placed on leave followingan investigation into her conductand allegations that shemisused state equipment.On Nov. 2, PDN reported thatBarbette Hull of Poteau wasunder investigation for allegedlymisusing state property by usingproperty belonging to DHS forpersonal business.“I can confirm that our Officeof Inspector General has conductedan investigation intothese allegations against Mrs.Hull,” said Sheree Powell, DHSOffice of Communications.“(They) have turned over theirreport and recommendations tothe LeFlore County DistrictAttorney’s office.”Powell went on to say thatHull, who is an InformationSystems Planning Specialistwith an annual salary of$48,363.12, is currently on paidsuspension.PDN originally reported thata watchdog website had postedan article on October 26, whichstated that Hull while supposedto be working from home wasalso working for Coach’sLumber Yard near Spiro at thesame time and she was using herstate car and computer to conductpersonal business and businessfor the lumber yard.“OKDHS does not tolerate itsemployees committing the typesof offenses that have beenalleged and takes all appropriateactions,” Powell said in an emailon Wednesday.The LeFlore County DistrictAttorney’s office has receivedthe report from the InspectorGeneral and is in the process ofreviewing the findings to determineif criminal charges will befiled. Powell stated that thereport also contained recommendationsfrom the Inspector General. Powell could not comment on what those recommendationswere.According to Powell, Hull has worked for DHS sinceAugust 1982. She said that the decision by the D.A.’soffice to file charges would not affect the agency’sdecision regarding Hull’s employment.“Those are two separate issues,” Powell said.According to Powell the OIG findings will bereviewed by DHS to determine if Hull violated DHSpolicies or conducted herself in an inappropriate manner.Once the determination has been made Hull will beissued a letter by the agency. If it was determined thatshe should be terminated Hull will then have the opportunityto have a hearing on the matter. A final decisionwill then be rendered and Hull will receive a final letterto notify her of the decision. If Hull is terminated thefinal letter will contain detailed information regardingthe allegations made against her, the findings and evidencediscovered by the OIG investigation and thespecific reason for her termination.Powell could not comment on which phase of theprocess Hull is currently in, stating that it is a personnelmatter that is still ongoing. She did state that if Hull isterminated the final letter of termination will be public record.