Oklahoma lawmakers eye performance pay for workers

Oklahoman Published: October 23, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — State workers in Oklahoma, who haven't seen a pay increase since 2006, shouldn't expect an across-the-board salary boost anytime soon, but several state leaders said Tuesday they support the idea of raises tied to performance reviews and private-sector wages.

The chairman of the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee and the secretary of finance both said that while they oppose the idea of set pay increases for all state workers, they are willing to support a performance-pay system.

Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger, one of the governor's top budget negotiators, stopped short of saying it would be included in Gov. Mary Fallin's next budget proposal, but he added: “It's something we're talking about.”

The last pay hike for state workers was an across-the-board 5 percent increase in 2006 when Democrats controlled the state Senate and the governor's office. Republicans are now in control of the legislature and the governor's office, and Doerflinger said targeted pay increases is in line with fiscal conservatism.

“If we begin to utilize performance appraisals in an appropriate manner, we will begin to be able to identify what I like to call `rock stars' or people who rise to the top,” Doerflinger told members of the House budget panel Tuesday. “It also allows you to coach people who are not performing at the level you would expect, and additionally, move poor performers out of your organization.”

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