I've been a state employee for 13 years. In that time I've had two pay raises. So when I read about the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs requesting $250,000 to increase the salaries of five administrators, I almost fell out of my chair. In addition to being a state employee, I'm a veteran, having spent 20 years of active military service. I'm close to an employee of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, so I know the good work it does.
That said, an approximate 40 percent raise for the director and deputy directors along with the public information officer is obscene. The raise for the director alone is about $3,000 more than the entire annual salary of one of his service representatives, the people who travel the state in their designated areas assisting veterans and their families.
I know and understand all of the arguments about money coming from different sources, funding different projects/jobs. But pay raises of this magnitude when the “regular” employees haven't had a raise in six years is unconscionable.
I also know and agree that we need to pay competitive salaries to keep qualified people in these jobs. But how about taking care of the people who are taking care of the veterans? These employees don't even get annual cost of living raises.
Janine D. Layton, Chandler
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