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Oklahoma House approves state employee pay raise bill

The Oklahoma House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill designed to grant targeted pay raises to Oklahoma’s most underpaid employees this year, with an ultimate goal of raising all state employee salaries to 90 percent of the private market within four years.
by Randy Ellis Modified: March 11, 2014 at 8:45 pm •  Published: March 11, 2014

No specific source of funds has been identified for the raises, but Osborn previously has told The Oklahoman she believes the dollars are there.

“We may just have to make some hard decisions in other areas,” Osborn said.

The bill would remove salary structures from state law and grant the Office of Management and Enterprise Services the authority to set pay scales in an effort to make them more fair and consistent across state agencies.

Initial reaction

House Speaker Jeff Hickman praised the bill Tuesday.

“As stewards of the taxpayers’ money, it is our duty to provide core government services in a cost-effective and productive manner,” said Hickman, R-Fairview. “To do so, we need to attract hard-working and skilled employees with competitive compensation. By investing in those who choose to serve, we will be capable of providing a better product to the people of Oklahoma.”

Sterling Zearley, executive director of Oklahoma Public Employees Association, also praised the bill in a prepared statement released by the House.

“For several years, state employees were asked to do more with less and they did,” Zearley said. “However, we have neglected state employee pay for too long, leading to high turnover rates and short staffing for correctional centers, DHS offices, veterans centers and other locations providing core services. We appreciate the speaker of the House and House members making employee compensation a top priority for this session and will continue to work with them through the process.”

by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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