The theme of this year’s OPEA convention “Your Ideas, Your Voice, Your OPEA – Design It!” emphasizes the importance of having active members from across the state. OPEA leaders encourage members to attend the OPEA Annual Convention and Delegate Assembly to be held August 22nd and 23rd at the Crowne Plaza Oklahoma City, 2945 Northwest Expressway. This year’s convention will have meaningful discussion about OPEA’s future and opportunities for networking with fellow state employees. It will also be a lot of fun.
The convention is OPEA’s most important weekend of the year and not only will it shape the association’s next 12 months, it will guide our future legislative agenda. It will kick off Friday evening with a legislative meet-and-greet where we have invited lawmakers from across the state to join us for refreshments beginning at 6:00 p.m. This informal reception will be a great way to get to know legislators a little better and thank our friends who made state employees a priority during the most recent session. There will also be an auction of donated items including a handmade quilt.
“The meet-and-greet is a great opportunity for our members to get better acquainted with the men and women who will be deciding important state employee issues in the future,” said Sterling Zearley, OPEA Executive Director. “We’re also having this reception so members can reacquaint themselves with other members they have not seen recently and meet new friends. “
Saturday’s events will include the consideration of platform planks that OPEA will use during the next year. The planks not only serve as a guide for the association’s legislative agenda but also how the association conducts its business. All members from across the state have had the opportunity to submit ideas for planks during the meetings held in the spring and early summer. These ideas are then reviewed by the association’s platform committee prior to being submitted to the convention for consideration. Platform planks may also be submitted at the convention if the plank’s author has ten signatures from members in attendance agreeing that it should be considered.
“Approving platform planks is one way that members can be involved in their association,” said Trish Frazier OPEA Policy Director. “This is a crucial grass-roots process that is important for our association. We certainly appreciate the members who take time to submit planks as well as the platform committee.”
To begin the Saturday morning session, OPEA President Jess Callahan and Executive Director Sterling Zearley will address the membership. They will reflect on the past year and provide insights into the work that our association will need to do to continue making improvements for state employees. A presentation about the progress made on state employee compensation and a look at OPEA’s next steps to continue to improve compensation for all state employees will be presented by Sterling Zearley as part of the executive director remarks.
OPEA will also award its annual individual and chapter honors during lunch on Saturday. They will recognize some the individuals and chapters who have contributed to OPEA’s success during the past year. The luncheon will also feature a presentation by Oklahoma humorist Capt. Jack Parker who will spin tales about Oklahoma history and heritage, and the rural way of life.
New this year will be vendor tables set up by OPEA members or their families to make items available for sale to those in attendance. Convention planners are recruiting members who make and sell craft items or are product dealers for home and personal items to display their wares for sale on Saturday. Members who are interested in having a table should email email@example.com for more information.
There will also be opportunities to get more information from some of OPEA’s endorsed partners who will also representatives at their booths to visit with attendees. Some of our endorsed partners and other OPEA supports have assisted OPEA through contributions toward the cost of the convention.
“We really would like a strong turnout this year and especially encourage new members to become involved by participating in the convention, “Zearley said. “Friday night is a great opportunity for new and long-time members to learn more about OPEA and become acquainted with some of their colleagues. We’re going to have a lot of laughs too. It just won’t be all business.”
Registration is $10 and begins Friday evening continuing Saturday morning. Registration includes the activities for the two days, lunch on Saturday and a t-shirt. Hotel registration information will soon be available at the OPEA website. OPEA has secured a special room rate for attendees. Staff is also working with some of our friends to secure sponsorship for some members’ room costs. In the past, some legislators have sponsored members’ room costs for attendees from their part of Oklahoma.
This year’s OPEA Annual Convention will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Oklahoma City. OPEA has secured special rates for attendees. The Crowne Plaza is centrally located in OKC and is close to shopping and major attractions. There are also several restaurants nearby.
Rooms are $87 per night and include breakfast. You can reserve yours by calling 1-800-227-6963 or by going online at www.crowneplazaokc.com. Reservations must be made by August 1, 2014 to receive our guaranteed room rate. Be sure to mention the OPEA Convention when making your telephone reservations to receive the special rate or if you are reserving your room online, enter the code OPE.
Come be part of your OPEA. Your association is stronger when we have participation from across Oklahoma. OPEA leadership especially encourages new members to take an active role in OPEA. Attending this year’s convention is one of the best ways to become involved.
For more information about this year’s convention, please email Candice Scarpitti.