Oklahoma City – Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) Director Joe M. Allbaugh has instituted a purchasing freeze to take effect immediately. The announcement is the third administrative action undertaken in less than three weeks to save the agency money.
The freeze excludes items deemed critical to day-to-day operations at facilities including food, medical supplies, healthcare treatment and most safety equipment.
Exempt purchases will be considered if there is an immediate safety or security concern for a facility or the public. Each purchase will be scrutinized through the proper chain of command.
The impact of the purchasing freeze could result in further delays in maintenance, repairs and other core services.
Allbaugh said the agency is continuing to take proactive steps when trying to find the $2.964 million the agency was ordered to cut from its budget by the end of the fiscal year.
“As we continue to make difficult choices as an agency, we are exploring every avenue to fill this budget hole,” Allbaugh said. “We are running out of areas to cut from without jeopardizing the safety and security of the public and those within our facilities. With the purchasing freeze in place, we will keep safety at a premium while not balancing the budget on the backs of our employees.”
The total cost savings from the purchasing freeze are unknown at this time.
Other Cost Saving Measures
The first cost savings measure undertaken by the agency was on Feb. 23, when Allbaugh issued a hiring freeze.
The second was the cancellation of the county jail contracts on Wednesday.