Buckle Up For A Long Ride This Session

If today’s state of the state address by Gov. Mary Fallin is any indication, state employees and retirees have their work cut out for them this upcoming session.

While we were pleased that she mentioned the need to pay employees fairly to retain and recruit good workers and she said the state should work toward targeted pay raises this year, it was concerning that she mentioned changing future employees’ retirement to a 401K style plan and changing the current longevity program.

Gov. Fallin’s recent compensation study said that the state does need to take steps to improve salaries this session but also said that any actions to re-balance salaries and benefits should not take place until salaries are improved.

The Governor’s proposed budget doesn’t fund the targeted pay raises but did not provide information about which types of positions should be targeted. Her proposed budget does call for 5 percent cuts in most agencies. State employees have done more with less for years, including cutting thousands of positions, and a cut this size would severely hamper agencies’ ability to provide services.

The budget did call for $2.4 million in extra funds for the Department of Corrections but the amount suggested is much too low to provide for much-needed pay raises. It also called for an extra $5 million for state trooper raises.

It also requests $36 million in new funds for DHS to continue implementation of the Pinnacle Plan and $1 million to reduce the DDSD waiting list.

State employees must be involved during the legislative session by paying attention to what is happening and advocating for themselves when the time comes. Please continue to follow this page and OPEA’s website for updates.

The legislative session will run through May and there will be many ups-and-downs. The topics that will be discussed and potentially voted on are too important to state employees for them to just sit on the sideline.

While it is easy to think “it doesn’t matter what i do” in regards to the legislature, the only way state employment will improve is if employees work together with OPEA to help pass good bills and defeat bad bills.


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