OPEA Commends DHS on Pay Adjustments

The members of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association (OPEA) applaud today’s announcement of pay raises for Department of Human Services employees which will significantly help improve their quality of life and the services they provide.

Governor Stitt and DHS Director Justin Brown announced the pay adjustments in a press conference today saying the amounts were arrived at based on a study of  salaries using “peer-to-peer” market analysis rather than an across the board approach.

“I have been impressed by the highly competent and committed employees that I have interacted with since coming to DHS,” said Director Justin Brown.  “Our people have done so much more with fewer resources over the last few years, and it was important to me that we compensate our team for the excellent service they provide to Oklahoma families each and every day.  We appreciate the collaboration with OPEA executive director, Sterling Zearley, in advocating for this remarkable pay adjustment.”


“Today is a great day for DHS and their hard-working employees,” said Sterling Zearley, OPEA Executive Director. “This pay raise shows Director Brown’s commitment to retaining and recruiting qualified, caring people to serve Oklahoma’s most-vulnerable citizens. We appreciate working with DHS leadership and the Governor’s office to make DHS a better place to work so the staff can focus on assisting our fellow Oklahomans.”

“OPEA continues to advocate for market based salaries for state employees,” Zearley said. “We are pleased that DHS has taken this approach for their employees. We will continue to work with lawmakers and state leaders to implement and fund similar salary adjustments for all state employees.”

“DHS employees have been underpaid for too long. When the state was enduring years of budget shortfalls, they received no raises because the agency is so large. With the state on stronger financial footing, we now have the resources to significantly improve other agencies’ salaries, reduce unnecessary employee turnover and continue to provide core services,” he said.

The Oklahoma Public Employees Association is the state’s largest state employee organization with approximately 10,000 active and retired state employees. Its mission is to improve state employment and state services

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