Had lawmakers worked another week instead of leaving early, and had they balanced the budget considering the needs of all Oklahoma citizens, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections wouldn't have been ignored by the legislators and the governor. They could have read the 2007 audit done by MGT America, bought and paid for by the Legislature to the tune of $864,000. It explains, in detail, how to fix the agency's budgetary problems. Had the governor spent a week reading this audit, she would have found the answers for how to make DOC pay raises possible and still save the state money.
Her new compensation study is a waste of taxpayer dollars. It offers further proof that she doesn't have a clue how hard it is for a correctional officer to make ends meet. It appears that the governor is attempting to make any future DOC pay raises based on “merit.” How much harder can we possibly work? The prison population is maxed out. Staff levels are the lowest in history, with officers retiring, quitting for better-paying jobs or leaving disgusted and demoralized.
With no raises since June 2006 and the furloughs of three years ago further depleting our numbers, we're trying to protect Oklahoma citizens with one hand tied behind our backs. We're getting no help from the Legislature. For the governor to imply that those of us still employed by DOC aren't doing the best job we possibly can do, with the odds stacked against us, shows that she's out of touch with the reality of our situation.
From my perspective, the only ones not doing their jobs adequately are the legislators and the governor.
W.J. Hallock, Pauls Valley
Hallock is a Department of Corrections sergeant.