OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board is expected to vote Monday to hire Tom Bates as its new executive director.
The board met for nearly 2½ hours behind closed doors Thursday and interviewed two candidates.
“We are very excited to have him,” Pardon and Parole Board Chairman Robert Gilliland said of Bates. “We feel like at this juncture in our history, he is the perfect person for the job. This will add some stability and credibility to the Pardon and Parole Board.”
Bates is expected to earn $145,000 a year, Gilliland said. He replaces Steven Bickley, who resigned.
Bates serves as special adviser to the governor and director of the Front Porch Initiative, which seeks better coordination across the state’s health and human services agencies.
From April 2018 until September 2019, he served as interim commissioner of health, getting the state Health Department back on stable footing following allegations of financial mismanagement under prior leadership. He also led the agency through the early stages of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program.
He worked in the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office from 1999 until 2014, serving as first assistant attorney general the past two years.
Bates, 51, holds both a law degree and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Oklahoma City University.
“I look forward to working with board members and the staff at the Pardon and Parole Board,” he said.
Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!
Stay up-to-date on the latest in local and national government and political topics with our newsletter.