Oklahoma Corporation Commission pulls furlough plan

JAY F. MARKS Published: August 4, 2009
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The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Monday scrapped furlough plans, a week before the first scheduled unpaid day off for more than 450 employees.

"Everyone’s pleased,” said Brooks Mitchell, the commission’s director of administration.

Officials had announced the furlough plan in late June because of a funding shortfall of more than $2 million. They intended to close all commission offices for one day a month and keep employees at home without pay, saving about $100,000 each day.

Six furlough days already had been scheduled before Mitchell notified employees that officials had managed to find enough money to keep them at work.

Mitchell said he and commissioners Bob Anthony, Jeff Cloud and Dana Murphy have been working with legislators and other state leaders to solve the commission’s funding woes.

The commission got clearance to use some of its existing earmarked funds for operational expenses, a move that is expected to be ratified by the Legislature next year, Mitchell said.

Even though furloughs are no longer needed, Mitchell said officials still are looking for ways to save money.

"The economy still hasn’t rebounded yet,” he said. "We’ve got other plans and will just continue to monitor things.”

Other reductions
Spending cuts slashed the commission’s budget by 18 percent rather than the intended 5 percent, officials said.

The slumping economy also has hampered other sources of funding for the commission.

The commission already eliminated 25 positions through voluntary buyouts and reductions in force. Officials also will try to limit travel to reduce costs.



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