While Oklahoma government is facing a budget crisis passing on a series of 5% cuts to agencies, you would think this would be the optimum time for reform. Instead, the state rumor mill is reverberating with agency talk of furloughs, VOBO’s and RIF’s. Some agencies are even talking about contracting out more services!
Contracting out is a sophisticated way of telling hard working state employees their jobs have been eliminated in favor of private sector contractors who have made promises of saving the agency money. This money savings is accomplished on the backs of working people. Contractors displace state employees then hire people at low wages with little or no benefits and certainly no rights under the merit system.
The current rumor mill says:
The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board will furlough its 37 employees one day a month for 12 months.
The Department of Public Safety will not be replacing troopers or civilian employees who leave. They also have a furlough plan in the works.
DHS will not fill vacant positions and is cutting travel and training.
OJA is considering furloughs and VOBO’s as well as contracting out additional jobs.
The Corporation Commission is considering furloughs and RIF’s.
This is only the tip of the iceberg on rumors as well as actual decisions which have already been made or are sitting on the drawing board.
OPEA says “enough is enough.” OPEA says cuts should come first to private contractors who have thus far not experienced the ups and downs of the economy in their state contracts. These private providers are supposedly partners in the effort to provide state services and should experience the same cuts as state agencies before any employees are displaced.
The state spends over $1.4 billion dollars on contracts each year. Let’s make sure they feel the same pain state employees are feeling. OPEA is asking every chapter and member to contact their local legislator and encourage them to make sure private contracts are cut as well!