Thousands of Oklahoma state employees to receive raise starting Tuesday

More than 11,000 Oklahoma state employees will get salary hikes from 6.25 to 8 percent in fiscal year 2015, which begins Tuesday.
by Rick Green Published: June 30, 2014
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Starting Tuesday, more than 11,000 state employees will get pay raises ranging from 6.25 percent to 8 percent, including prison guards, child welfare workers, nurses and others identified in a comprehensive study as underpaid.

State Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, said this is just the first step in the ultimate goal of bringing state employee pay to 90 percent of the amount paid in the private sector for similar jobs.

“A lot of the turnover in these jobs is because of pay,” Osborn said. “This can help lower turnover. The hope is to be able to recruit and retain good state employees.”

Oklahoma Public Employees Association President Jess Callahan, who is a social worker with the state Department of Human Services, said DHS workers will see a 6.25 percent increase.

“It is a step in the right direction, but we have a ways to go,” said Callahan, who makes $31,000 a year. “For me, the increase will be right at $200 a month. Hopefully, my wife and I can try to put together a nest egg. We have two children. We would like to be in a comfortable position to put our kids through college.

“This is not going to cure the problem, but for some state employees, this could be the difference in paying the rent or not.”

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by Rick Green
Capitol Bureau Chief
Rick Green is the Capitol Bureau Chief of The Oklahoman. A graduate of Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., he worked as news editor for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City before joining The Oklahoman.
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At a glance

Nearly 70 bills that were passed by the Legislature this year take effect Tuesday. They include:

Senate Bill 1023, which prohibits Oklahoma’s cities and counties from setting their own minimum wage standards.

Senate Bill 1143, which requires a weekly pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag in schools, and permits students to choose not to do so.

Senate Bill 1655, which eliminates the requirement that school districts be given A-F grades in an annual report by the state Board of Education based on the state’s school testing program. Individual schools still will receive A-F grades.

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