The Oklahoma Public Employees Association is claiming a small victory after the OJA Board of Directors voted to delay discussing or taking action on agenda items dealing with privatization.

“We are very pleased the Board of Directors of OJA listened thoughtfully to OPEA’s concerns and delayed any action on this until July,” said OPEA’s Director of Communications Mark Beutler. “Board members commented that the input of OPEA is of major importance and while we are early in this battle, we are happy with this decision.”

Board member Dr. Linda Ware-Toure expressed concerns with the timing. “I have concerns about even discussing this in July. I don’t feel comfortable and feel we need more information presented to us before we consider moving forward with this.”

Board Chairman Gary Taylor expressed his concerns with the agenda item as well. “What is the state’s obligation to house kids,” he asked. “Why are we not discussing a public facility? I would like to see a state run facility on the table and then let them be judged on their merit.”

Director Gene Christian added the agency has done work on a 60-bed public facility. He also added that he was fielding certain questions and OJA needs to respond. “Questions are being asked whether this should this be a private facility, and we need to begin the discussion so we can answer the question. I am notifying the public, employees and all concerned so we can have their input as well,” Christian said.

The Board voted unanimously to discuss the item again at the July 17th board meeting as well as during the September board retreat.

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