The Chairman of the House of Representatives Sub Committee on Appropriations, Randy Terrill met recently at OPEA’s request with Department of Corrections employees of the Central District Probation and Parole office. The pizza lunch provided by OPEA gave employees an opportunity to hear from Chairman Terrill about the current budget situation and also gather more information about the recent Durrant Report.
OPEA Board member and P&P Officer, Carrie Croy, coordinated the meeting. “We have had a lot of question and concerns about the budget situation so we asked the budget chairman to attend,” said Croy. “It shows the great amount of respect legislators have for OPEA.”
Representative Terrill advised the near two dozen employees that a difficult time for agencies is on the horizon. “The budget is continuing a downward trend with agencies having to cut their budget by 5% for the current month,” said Terrill. “That is a 5% cut to one-twelfth of the agency’s budget which seems manageable but if we continue down this road additional cuts may mean that the legislature has to come back into a special session to either reprioritize the budget and move money around, or tap the rainy day fund.”
Terrill also praised OPEA for its continuing work. “They (OPEA) are who I go to for information on corrections issues,” he said. “I worked closely with Scott (Deputy Director Scott Barger) during the past session on numerous corrections issue and have a lot of confidence in OPEA. That is why I joined OPEA and would encourage you to do the same.”
Attending with Representative Terrill was state Representative Mike Christian. Representative Christian told the group that as a former state employee and Trooper, he knew the value of having a organization like OPEA in your corner. “I am a believer in employees being able to have their voice heard and the larger your organization, the better off you will be,” he said. “OPEA is a great organization that is able to unit all state employees around common goals. This is the most important factor in getting attention at the capitol. You need to be able to cross agency lines, cross job descriptions and work with other state employees if you want to be successful. OPEA is that kind of an organization and one that is well respected.”
“I really appreciate Representatives Terrill and Christian coming to the meeting as they had just finished an aerial tour with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs,” said Barger. “They both are really investing in public safety in Oklahoma and specifically in corrections. They have toured many of the prisons, both public and private in the state and I think they have a great grasp of the challenges facing public safety employees.”