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Oklahoma Board of Health names Bates interim commissioner

March 28, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Board of Health has named a former top official of the state attorney general’s office to lead the Department of Health.

The board Wednesday named former First Assistant Attorney General Tom Bates as interim health commissioner. Bates will be paid $189,000 a year as interim commissioner, the same salary as the former interim commissioner.

Bates is the department’s fourth leader in the past six months. Former Commissioner Terry Cline resigned in October amid questions about a $30 million budget shortfall at the agency.

Preston Doerflinger, former state finance secretary, took over as interim commissioner but resigned in February after domestic violence allegations from 2012 became public.

Brian Downs, the agency’s director of federal and state policy, has served as acting commissioner since then.

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