With 3,800 fewer employees, those remaining are doing more work for the same money. And that's actually less money than a few years ago due to outside circumstances such as inflation and a change in the benefit allowance that will ding employees as much as $1,356 annually.
The OPEA agrees that times have changed and past models of compensating state employees are no longer tenable. Even so, many reforms need to take place to ensure the long-term viability of being a state employee in Oklahoma.
If not, a future with constant turnover and loss of institutional knowledge will only increase, making state service function less productive. We cannot, as citizens of this great state, allow that to happen.
Zearley is executive director of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.