OPEA Reaction to Gov. Stitt’s HB2465 Veto

State employees are disappointed with the Governor’s veto of HB2465 which would have provided overtime payments to some of the state’s lowest paid state employees who are required by their agency to work overtime.
“Many state employees are required to work overtime due to short staffing in their workplace and they can’t take comp time because of the same staffing issues. These employees work overtime yet are not compensated for it. HB2465 would have taken care if the issue for some of those employees,” said Sterling Zearley, executive director of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association (OPEA).
“If you work overtime that is approved by your supervisor but your workload won’t permit you to take comp time, you should be paid for it. Some state jobs require overtime work and to not pay those employees for that work is wrong,” he said.
The bill passed the State Senate 41-2 and the House of Representatives by a 75-19 margin.
While disappointed in the veto, Zearley said the association was encouraged by part of the Governor’s veto message that recognized how important state employee compensation is to retaining state employees.
“On April 24th, the members of OPEA sent a letter to Gov. Stitt asking for his support of a $2,500 pay raise for each state employee,” Zearley said. “His veto message is the first indication we’ve had from Gov. Stitt that he may be willing to support a $2,500 pay raise for state employees.”
“State employee pay and benefits, including overtime pay and compensation time, is critical to ensuring Oklahoma retains the best and brightest in state government,” Stitt said in his veto message.
Zearley said in 2018 state agency employee turnover cost taxpayers $137 million to recruit and train replacement employees and high turnover can be attributed to low state employee pay and benefits, which is 20 percent below market according to OMES.
OPEA is the state’s largest state employee association working to improve state employment and state services.

Related News