Members of the state Ethics Commission slashed the list Thursday of prospective applicants for the post of executive director from nearly 50 to four.
Commissioners plan to interview the four finalists during a special meeting Nov. 27. Applicants had until noon Tuesday to submit applications, and many came in the last day, commission Chairman Jo Pettigrew said.
All four finalists are from Oklahoma, she said.
Marilyn Hughes, the agency's executive director for 25 years, is leaving Nov. 30.
“Common sense says that we probably will not have a new executive director on board by Dec. 1, but we won't rule that out,” Pettigrew said. “We certainly will be working to get someone as soon as possible.”
Commissioners took no action on applicants seeking the general counsel position. Rebecca Adams, who has held the post 21 years, also is leaving Nov. 30.
“It was just too overwhelming to do both and to look at all of those as thoroughly as we looked at executive director applicants,” Pettigrew said. “We can do that at a later date. We might choose to wait until an executive director is on board before filling that.”
Pettigrew said many of the applicants applied for both. The commission is continuing a policy that the executive director should be an attorney.
“It's just a small agency,” she said. “So much of our work has to do with legal issues and understanding the law and interpreting laws. We really felt like we needed more than one attorney.”
It's possible an unsuccessful applicant for executive director might also be considered for the general counsel post, she said.
A large majority of applicants for both positions was from Oklahoma, Pettigrew said.
She said commissioners were pleased with the applicants for the agency, which writes civil penalty rules governing state campaigns and the conduct of state officers and employees.
“Absolutely outstanding people,” Pettigrew said. “We're very comfortable with the ones we selected.”
Hughes' annual salary is $120,000, and Adams' annual pay is $112,500. Commissioners earlier set the pay range for executive director at $100,000 to $120,000 annually; the general counsel post's pay range was set at $92,500 to $112,500.
The agency likely will be down to two employees Dec. 1. Its longtime investigator, Darey Roberts, is retiring Nov. 30.