New Members • The following people recently chose to get involved by joining the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.
Jennifer Ackerson Brad Carter Michael Gentry Lacy Kinoschi Shirley Overby Lashowann Smith
Geraldine Adams Lura Chandler Brandon Gerdes James Kirk Robert Page Robyn Smith
Steven Akers Michael Chandler Gloria Giauque Nancy Kirkland Tanya Parker Sharon Smith
Micheal Alderson Michelle Chastain Rachel Gillispie Calvin Klein Chanda Partee Shelley Smith
Delmer Allen Claudia Chesser Kirby Givens Kelie Knowles Shannon Patterson Barbara Staggs
Linda Allen Lezlie Christian Don Glover Hsiu-Tang Lackmeyer Delores Payne Betty Stephens
Teri Anderis Sonja Claborn Ronald Goodner Mark Lagreca Edna Penick Etta Lou Stephenson
Donna Anderson Greta Clark Frances Duling Gray Tonia Lamb Nellene Perry Phyllis Stevenson-Pack
Stephanie Anderson Eric Clayton Robert Green Frances Lane Paula Perry John Stewart
W.L Anderson Elaine Coker Marilyn Guient Don LaSalle Christina Phillips Brianna Stimson
Michael Askins Sonja Cole Barbara Gullion Kimberly Lasater Peggy Phillips Jerry Stinson
Lanita Austin Layce Collins Sharon Hadley Helen Latimer Phyllis Phillips Rachel Stiver
Cheryl Baldwin Billie Compton Larry Hahn Richard Laughlin J. Pipkin Carol Stohler
Betty Ballard Freeda Conway Bradley Hamilton Chris Lee Lucille Pitt Paul Stoy
James Barnett Juanita Conway Robyn Hammer Courtney Lee Ryan Pitt Kevin Stufflebeam
Robert Barnett Catharine Cook Ruth Hammond Kathryn Lee Brandy Porter Joe Summers
Kathy Barton Charlotte Cooper Terri Hanney Amanda Lenora Edward Porter Mary Ann Sweeney
Cheryl Batey Constance Cordray Billie Harness Ron Lewellen Sandra Potts David Taylor
Taren Baumert Brada Cowen Glenn Harris Milton Lewis Kelly Price Sabra Taylor
Van Becker Kathryn Cowen Trenesha Harrison Regina Lewis Norris Price Julia Teska
Eddie Bell Janet Craven Darren Harvell Robert Lightfoot Billie Prichard Hal Thomas
Shirley Bennett Charles Crosier Dorinda Harvey Robyn Lindermann Donna Puckett Charles Tippit
Wayne Bible Alfred Crum Ellen Harwell Phillip Lipscomb Gordon Pugh Lifus Todd
Jennifer Billy Ima Crum Joan Hastings Camp Michael Logen Deborah Ray Sandra Torres
E. Carolyn Bishop Annetta Custer S. Hastings Lakisha Long Holly Rehder James Uhleuhake
Bettie Blair Sandra Day Rebecca Hawkins Stephen Love Etta Reid Peggy Underwood
Angela Blanck Traci Deffenbaugh Michael Haynes Jerry Mackey Nathan Rhea Vishnu Vadhawkar
Charles Blatt Marilyn Degmetich P. Annette Hazelwood Ann Marcario James Rinta Deborah Vermillion
Jody Bly Lisa Dennison Mary Hazen Aglaia Martin Sonya Rios James Wakeman
Treva Bogard Karen Determan Raymond Heckard Cindy Martin Lola Ritter Jackie Waldorf
Cleo Mae Boler Patricia Dole Hal Hefner Kelly Martin Walter Roberson Carol Walker
Janice Booker Monty Dolton Cynthia Henderson Robert Martin Ronald Roberts Christie Walker
William Boswell Venetta Douglas Rene Henry Cecile Mason Roberta Robertson Joyce Walker
Christopher Bouldin James Dudley Marilyn Hight Cordelia Maxfield Lisa Robison Charlene Wallace
Larry Bowen Paul Duncan Linda Hitchye John McAlister Janet Rodgers Elizabeth Walton
David Bowlin Mildred Earnest James Hitt Kelley McAnarney Sylvia Rogers Johnny Ward
Linda Bowman Vicky Ebbs Cindy Holler Sandra McCauley Brandy Rollins Robin Ward
Melvin Bowman Susan Edmonds Hugh Hood Ella McClellan Dondi Ross Christy Washington
Sonya Bradberry Tommy Edwards Amanda Hoover Lenora McCoy Amanda Rosson Larry Webb
Emmett Bradford Mitzi Eldridge Carol Horacek Rebecca McCracken Vivian Rutherford Sylvia Webb
Phillis Bratcher Andrea Emmons Kay Howell Diane McCright Steven Scantiny Amber Weichselbaum
Ginny Brave Chic Erickson Deborah Hudson Myrna McDonald Martha Scates Delmena Westbrook
Darlene Bricky Dennis Evans Kalei Hutchens Joy DeAnn McGahen Cynthia Schaefer Sharron White
Shirley Brooks Paul Evans Kathryn Hylla Cecile McGinnis Pat Schieber Elizabeth Whittington
James Brown Roger Ewerth Loyd Ingersoll Carolyn Meadows Calvin “Chris” Scott Richard Wiehe
Kathryn Brown Gary Farmer Jessie Isugun Georgann Metcalf Max Scott Carolyn Wilkinson
Kevin Brown Joe Fermo Wynonna Jackson Destiny Miles Imogene Seals Damien Williams
Obediah Brown Merli Fermo Alfred Jech Kurtis Miller Megan Shea Frank Williams
Trina Brown Michael Field Yvonne Jefferson Scott Miller Sharron Shelton Gleaner Williams
Tammy Bruce Mary Ellen Finerty John Jimenez Judie Miller-Aziere Jennifer Shepherd Julie Williamson
Genifer Buckley Glenda Ford-Lee Charles Johnson Linda Moody Yalonda Sherfield Sania Williamson
Sharon Buggs Bobbi Forga Joyce Johnson Kathy Moore Felisha Shields Vera Williamson
Mark Bullard Clint Forrest Kenya Johnson Sharon Moore Carl Shipley Aaron Willis
Joy Buller Linda Franklin Latoric Johnson James Moreland Ishanta Shoals Terry Willis
Mary Nell Bumpers Nicholaus Frazier Linda Johnson Alisia Moreno Delbert Shockley Daniel Wilson
Patsy Burns Callie Freeman Rufus Johnson Tia Morgan Raymond Shook Julie Wilson
Jamie Bush Amy Fregara Jerimiah Jones L. Morrow Jessica Shoopman Kenneth Winn
William Bynum Janice Frey Russell Jones Kenni Morton Kyle Shores Beverly Wood
Arlene Caldwell Willie Fry Fred Jordan Judi Mott LaDeana Shouse Kathy Woods
Andrea Callahan Ashley Funburg Olen Joyner Jonathan Murray Cindy Simms Craig Wright
David Cameron Lawrence Gales Kenneth Kappen Sammy Nye Donna Sinks Shirley Wunder
Addie Campos Joyce Garber Mary Kelcy Jenny O’Dell Rita Slife Raymond Wyatt
Rose Carr-LaVan Joseph Garrett Thelma Kelly Eva Onda Everett Sloop Sylvia Zapffe
Glenn Carrell Larry Garrett Vickie Kenney Raul Ortiz Carolyn Smith Randal Zotigh
Ray King Cathy Oslin
15-Year Anniversaries • These OPEA members reached their 15th anniversary with the association during the past month.
Della Armstrong Mary Dawn Cole Diane Heskett Paul Osborn Henry Slosky
Linda Bassett Rick Costello Harvey Higgins Harold Powers Phillip Starr
William Batty Bill Crain James Janway Bob Reidenbaugh Linda Swanson
Larry Bender James Dawson Karen Lackey Neamyra Riddle Laura Tabor
Vanessa Bevel Rozella Fine Paul Marquez John Robinett Walter Takecare
Rondine Bruner Darla Fore Jo Anne McCarty Leonard Ryder Larry Tolle
Wilburn Burns James Frailey Stuart McCollom Norvin Schroder Larry Williamson
Judith Neumeier Linda Shea
Page 2 • March 2008 • OPEA Advocate www.opea.org
Making A Difference State Employees Would Wait For
A list of new OPEA members and those who
have been with the association for 15 years. . 2
Pay Raise Under Governor’s Plan
While Gov. Brad Henry’s plan for a 5-percent pay hike for
We Need To Send A Strong Message
state employees is a step in the right direction, it is
important to examine the details.
By OPEA President Billy Moore . . . . . . . . . . 4
State Employees No Longer Want To
Stand In Line Behind The Teachers Legislative Meetings Draw State
By OPEA Executive Director
Employees In Large Numbers
Sterling Zearley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Facing what they called “the largest state employee crowd
OPEA Board Weighs In On
they’ve ever seen,” State Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield and
State Restructuring Plans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 State Rep. Terry Hyman, both Democrats, addressed a
group that represented several state agencies Jan. 10 in
Two Reports, One Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Ardmore. OPEA held similar meetings Jan. 17, both in
Lawton and Muskogee.
Who Are You Going To Call? . . . . . . . . . . 10 Page 9
You Should Make As Much As The New Kid
Burden Of Proof Corrections Audit Confirms
By OPEA General Counsel Longtime OPEA Concerns
Melinda Alizadeh-Fard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Many recommendations suggested by a performance audit
Government Relations School A of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections have been
Hit With Savvy State Employees . . . . . . . 14 advocated by the Oklahoma Public Employees
Association over the past decade.
OPEA Members Can Buy Computers
Through Payroll Deduction Plan. . . . . . . . 15
Who Are You Going To Call? . . . . . . . . . . 15
A Workforce In Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Upcoming OPEA Events
OPEAPAC Seeks Member Input In
OPEA Lobby Day - March 11 - State Capitol • Meet with your
Candidate Endorsement Process . . . . . . . 17
legislators and convince them to support the OPEA Platform.
The OPEA Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Retiree Lobby Day - April 2 - State Capitol • Talk with your
Legislative Tracking List. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 senators and representatives about retiree issues.
State Employee Benefit DHS Lobby Day - April 16 - State Capitol • Meet with your
Allowance Under Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
legislators and DHS Director Howard Hendrick.
The Advocate is published by the Oklahoma Public Employees Association • 13 N.E. 28th St., Oklahoma City, Okla. 73105 • (405) 524-6764 • (800) 880-OPEA • Fax: (405) 524-4671 •
E-mail: email@example.com • Web Site: www.opea.org
OPEA Board Of Directors
Billy Moore - President • Christie Biggs - Veterans Council • Kenneth Burrow - GRDA Council • Glen Coleman - DOC Council • Patricia Dill - DHS Council • Jann Ensz - DHS Council • Darren Francis
- Natural Resources/Safety and Security Council • Royce Harder - OJA Council • Glenn Hightower - Retiree Council • Dixie Jackson - Department of Mental Health Council • Patricia Naifeh-Parker -
Education Services/Human Resources Council • Fred Martin - Transportation/Transportation Authority Council • Tom McDonald - DHS Council • Mark Rainville - DHS Council • Forrest Rush -
Education Services/Human Resources Council • Connie Stockton - Natural Resources/Safety and Security Council • Betty Weber - Department of Health Council • William Weldon - DOC Council
Executive Director - Sterling Zearley (firstname.lastname@example.org); Deputy Director - Scott Barger (email@example.com); Policy and Agency Relations Director - Trish Frazier, MPA (firstname.lastname@example.org); Executive
Assistant - Nancy Hughes (email@example.com); Membership Director - Dean Balmer (firstname.lastname@example.org); Communications Director and Special Projects - Bud Elder (email@example.com); General Counsel
- Melinda Alizadeh-Fard (firstname.lastname@example.org); Membership Representative - Tarajee Stevenson (email@example.com); Membership Representative - Alicia Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org);
Administrative Assistant - Rachelle Johnson (email@example.com).
The Advocate (USPS 016-153) is published bimonthly by the Oklahoma Public Employees Association. Periodicals postage paid at Oklahoma City, Okla. 73125. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Advocate, Oklahoma Public
Employees Association, 13 N.E. 28th St., Oklahoma City, Okla. 73105. Subscriptions: $4 per year, included as part of OPEA membership. Reproduction in whole or part prohibited without written permission. Advertising rates upon
request. Publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertising.
www.opea.org OPEA Advocate • March 2008 • Page 3
We Need To Send A Strong Message
A s the 2008 legislative session opens, law-
makers are faced with some major deci- Moore Comments are.
and serious about keeping our benefits as they
sions. Some of those decisions will involve By Billy Moore • OPEA President March 11, 2008, is our day. This is the one
issues that are important to state employees – day out of the year that we get the opportunity
too important for us to sit back and hope our to come together and stand for
legislators make the right decisions. We
have to get out there, put ourselves on
what matters. Our legislators need
to see that we mean business this
“I t will take all of
the front line and remind legislators that year. We don’t want to walk away us working together to
state employees matter. We have to let empty-handed, as we have in years remind Gov. Brad
them know that state employees have past. The governor has said he Henry that it’s time to
stood at the back of the line long enough would like to see a 5-percent salary
while teachers have received salary increase for state employees. For make state employees
increases. most state workers, this is only his priority.”
OPEA and its leaders say it’s all up to state around $100 a month. At the
workers across Oklahoma. If 2008 really is to be the year of the OPEA Convention, we voted to push for a $2,700 salary
state employees, it will take more than a proclamation. It will increase, and we shouldn’t stand for anything less.
take all of us working together to remind Gov. Brad Henry that As your elected president, I challenge every state employee,
it’s time to make state employees his priority. We must get members and non-members, to join me at the state Capitol
across the message that we are serious about demanding a March 11 to send a strong message to Gov. Henry and all our
$2,700 across-the-board pay raise for all state employees; serious elected officials that we are united and that we want to be prop-
about the pay raise being effective July 1, 2008, not next year; erly compensated for our work. Anything less is unacceptable.
State Employees No Longer Want To
Stand In Line Behind The Teachers
A s I have toured the state, going from
one massive town hall meeting to
another, one thing is completely clear: State
treated better because they have a more effec-
tive lobbying group at the state Capitol. Since
Scott and I are the principal lobbyists for
By Sterling Zearley
employees are fed up with standing in line OPEA Executive Director OPEA, at first I was hurt, and then I was mad,
behind teachers. that someone would say that about OPEA’s
In Muskogee, 125 state employees were efforts at the Capitol. But I quickly
saying just that. There were 50 enthusias-
tic attendees in Ardmore, 82 in Lawton
stashed my frustration and began
to laugh out loud at what these “O PEA does a
and similar numbers in Sand Springs, state employees said. Instead of tak- remarkable job of
Enid and other towns around ing their comments as criticism, I competing for a sliver
Oklahoma. I’m sure you get the picture. realized that they are really a very
of the pie against
These are some of the largest employee large component of OPEA and our
gatherings in recent OPEA history, and efforts at the Capitol. 45,000 organized
they are evidence that state employees are sick OPEA does a remarkable job of teachers.”
and tired of being ignored by their state legislators. competing for a sliver of the pie
State employees are united in complaining about the teach- against 45,000 organized teachers. The teachers have been
ers vs. state employees issue. They say the teachers are getting organized as a lobbying force for more than a century; OPEA
the lion’s share of pay increases, while state employees are told has been organized for 32 years. OEA boasts more than
to wait in line. “It’s time for state employees to get to see the 40,000 members while OPEA is growing at 7,500.
show,” one employee remarked. Yes, the education lobby is organized. As OPEA walks the
Some state employees are of the opinion that teachers are halls of the Capitol lobbying (Continued On Page 6)
Page 4 • March 2008 • OPEA Advocate www.opea.org
State Employees Would Wait For
Pay Raise Under Governor’s Plan
As part of his State of the State address to open the legislative session
Feb. 4, Gov. Brad Henry proposed a 5-percent pay raise for state employees,
a plan that garnered a standing ovation from legislators.
“The response was one of the best throughout the speech,” said OPEA
Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “We are pleased that the governor
included a pay raise as one of his budget initiatives. And legislators clearly
believe state employees should be a priority this year.”
At the beginning of the session, the governor is required to submit a
budget to state leaders. While the pay raise is a step in the right direction, it
is important to examine the details.
According to the budget, the pay raise would not take effect until Jan. 1,
2009, with a half-year cost of $32.7 million.
“State employees cannot wait 11 months for a pay raise,” Zearley com-
mented. “Our paychecks are already 12 percent below market. Delaying the
pay raise will only increase the gap between state employee pay and market,
making it harder to catch up.”
In addition, the budget proposes a cut in the benefit allowance that
would take between $40 and $80 a month from state employees.
“Moving money from one pocket to another is not a pay raise,” said
Zearley. “State employees must have a significant increase in their take-home
pay to help them cover increasing costs to support their families.”
Agency Budgets Flat
The budget fully funds a $1,200 pay raise aimed at bringing teachers up
to the regional average, at a cost of $65 million.
The governor’s budget proposes an additional $10 million to help school
districts with operating costs and $17.5 million to help with teacher retire-
ment contributions. The budget also includes $13 million for higher educa-
tion operating costs. No funding is provided to pay for the retirement con-
tribution increase required of state agencies.
“Once again, state agencies are not provided with funding to pay for
additional costs of food, fuel and medical supplies,” Zearley continued.
“State agencies have been forced to cut staff to absorb these costs.”
The exceptions are $1 million for the Health Department and $250,000 for
the Department of Veterans Affairs for operations. OPEA recently learned the
Health Department has put a freeze on hiring to help make up for a funding
shortfall this fiscal year.
The governor’s budget does provide an additional $30 million to the
Department of Corrections to annualize the proposed 2008 supplemental
appropriation and end the cycle of underfunding DOC.
The budget provides no additional staff to agencies for program growth.
“We know DHS workers are doing all they can to keep up,” said Zearley.
“The workload has continued to grow each year, with no additional funding
Seventeen nurses would be added at the J.D. McCarty Center so the
facility can continue to be certified to receive Medicaid funds. The Office of
Juvenile Affairs budget would receive an additional $1.7 million to improve
salaries for employee recruitment and retention.
www.opea.org OPEA Advocate • March 2008 • Page 5
OPEA Board Weighs In On State Restructuring Plans
The OPEA Board of Directors has confirmed its
support of state employees providing high-quality
services to the people of Oklahoma.
After discussing legislative initiatives to consolidate
and restructure state agencies at their January meeting,
members of the Board passed the following resolution:
The Oklahoma Public Employees Association is dedi-
cated to improving the working conditions, benefits, com-
pensation and status of state employees and therefore
ensuring quality services to the people of Oklahoma. We
believe that state employees are most efficient in provid-
ing the best possible state services. However, OPEA’s mis-
sion is to defend the jobs of state employees, not bureau-
cratic structures. Therefore, in agency consolidation and
restructuring, OPEA’s guiding principles will be to:
ensure the continued state employment of OPEA mem- OPEA’s new Board members were recently sworn in by Board Vice President
Connie Stockton, right. Left to right: Mark Rainville, Darren Francis, Jan Ensz and
bers; and ensure the continued state operation of core
“OPEA has no problem with discussions on how to better OPEA has a long history of protecting its members. In past
serve the public,” said OPEA Executive Director Sterling reductions-in-force and restructuring, the association has
Zearley. “We know that the work will still need to be done helped find jobs for members who wished to stay with the
regardless of which agency houses the function, and we know state. In addition, OPEA has fought to ensure the rights and
state employees do the job more efficiently than anyone else. benefits of employees who chose to leave state service.
The Board made it clear, however, that the most important issue “The best way state employees can protect their job is to
in agency restructuring is preserving our members’ jobs in state join OPEA,” Zearley concluded. “Our first priority is to pro-
service.” tect the rights of OPEA members.”
Frontlines (Continued From Page 4)
for state employee pay raises, we bump In fact, it seems that while we are committed to attending regular chapter
into school superintendents, PTA busy working toward better pay for state meetings, visiting and calling legislators
groups, teachers, their relatives and employees and COLA increases for and attending Lobby Day every year.
school board members. retirees, 26,500 state employees are For who? For OPEA, themselves and
What I would like to know is this: working against us. Many of them don’t 26,500 other state employees.
Where are your agency directors? Where mean to stand in our way, but that’s As you read this column, I hope you
are all the what their lack of participation indicates will pass my thoughts along to a co-
“I wonder what
OPEA has 7,500 dedicated members
worker. The question is not “Who is an
OPEA member?” The question is,
would happen if that seem to who are trying to get a pay raise for all “Who is not?”
34,000 state employ- take a lot of 34,000 state employees. This group of Watching OEA encourages me to
credit but 7,500 employees is successfully compet- constantly beat the drum for our mem-
ees were to unite
are never ing against the organized efforts of bers to recruit new members. When
under OPEA’s ban- seen at the 40,000 OEA members. I wonder what new employees walk on the job, greet
ner? There’s no doubt Capitol? would happen if 34,000 state employees them and ask them to complete an
in my mind that we Where are were to unite under OPEA’s banner? OPEA membership form. If your co-
your co- There’s no doubt in my mind that we workers are not members, show them
would get a bigger workers who would get a bigger slice of the pie. the value of their participation by mak-
slice of the pie.” are not will- If our 7,500 members are to com- ing OPEA the largest it has ever been.
ing to pony pete, they cannot forget where the true Then we will overcome and surpass
up $15 dollars a month to join the only strength in OPEA lies. OPEA members the lobbying efforts of OEA. Talk is
organization fighting for them? Are they are committed not only to their job but cheap; direct action gets results.
too “professional” to sweat a little blood to the growth and success of OPEA and And don’t forget Lobby Day March
for the state employee cause? the state employee profession. They are 11.
Page 6 • March 2008 • OPEA Advocate www.opea.org
Two Reports, One Conclusion
Surveys Say State Employees Do More With Less
Two different reports, one based on the consistent but troubling.
annual numbers from the Oklahoma Office of “Oklahoma state
Personnel Management and the other from the employees make 12.05
Governor’s Task Force on State Employee percent below market,”
Compensation, have reached the same conclu- he said. “According to
sion – that Oklahoma’s public employees are the survey, the average
performing more services with less resources and state employee makes
are seriously trailing their counterparts who per- $34,713.71, compared
form similar jobs when it comes to pay. to $38,896.87 for simi-
According to statute, OPM must conduct an lar jobs in other organi-
annual survey comparing state employee jobs to OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley, Linda Parrish of zations. OPM includes
the private sector and other government jurisdic- the Department of Corrections, Co-Senate President Pro the average longevity
tions. The 2007 survey studied 399 benchmark Tempores Glenn Coffee and Mike Morgan, task force chair payment of $1,069.63
jobs, representing 20,272 employees, or 73 per- Steve Hendrickson and OPM Director Oscar Jackson discuss in the state employee
cent of the classified state workforce. The com- state employee compensation. salary. If longevity is not
pensation report employs data from seven organizations, included, state employee pay is 13.5 percent below market.”
including the State Chamber of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma “Salary data from the other surveys includes only base pay
Hospital Association, the Central States Compensation and does not calculate variable pay such as bonuses or other
Association and the Southeastern States Salary Conference. incentives,” Zearley added. “Therefore, OPEA believes it
For a copy of the complete 2007 salary survey, visit important to remove longevity from the calculation. In addi-
www.ok.gov/opm/Reports_and_Publications/index.html. tion, the longevity payment in the state employee calculation
Oklahoma Public Employees Association Executive is for a 10-year employee and does not help recruit or retain
Director Sterling Zearley finds the results of the two surveys workers who have only been on the job for a few years.”
According to Zearley, the OPM report shows that 244 of
Below The Market the 399 state positions surveyed pay 10 percent or more below
The following positions in state government are the market. They are listed in Table 1.
Zearley said the disparity in pay is making it harder to
among 244 that pay at least 10 percent below the
recruit and retain qualified staff to deliver important services
market level. to the citizens of Oklahoma.
“The overall turnover rate for jobs in state government is
Case Manager II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23% below 13.9 percent, with some jobs losing one third of the workforce
each year,” he said.
Child Care Licensing Specialist II . . . . . . . 37% below
According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Saratoga
Child Support Specialist IV . . . . . . . . . . . . 31% below Institute for Workforce Effectiveness, the average turnover for
public sector employers is 8.2 percent, with most organiza-
Transportation Technician III . . . . . . . . . . . 30% below tions falling between 4.5 and 11.7 percent. Oklahoma has
three corporations on Fortune magazine’s “Best 100
Transportation Manager I . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35% below Companies to Work for in 2008.” Chesapeake Energy has a
Workforce Services Specialist II . . . . . . . . 34% below turnover rate of 6 percent, while Devon Energy is at 4 percent
and American Fidelity Assurance is at 8 percent.
Audiologist III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25% below The OPM report lists 76 state positions with turnover
above 10 percent per year, Zearley said. These are listed in
Speech/Language Pathologist II . . . . . . . . 26% below Table 2.
Psychological Clinician IV . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26% below Zearley said the OPM report seems to be a new song with
the same verse year after year.
Nursing Manager II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27% below “With pay so far below market, staffing shortages and
record numbers of employees eligible to retire, Oklahoma state
Health Care Management Nurse III . . . . . . 40% below agencies suffer from high turnover,” he said. “Since it takes an
estimated two years for an employee to gain the expertise to
do most jobs well, the citizens of our (Continued On Page 8)
www.opea.org OPEA Advocate • March 2008 • Page 7
Two Reports, One Conclusion (Continued From Page 7)
great state are deprived of the experienced workforce necessary exhaustive study of unclassified service, as there is for those in
to deliver quality services. The Oklahoma Office of Personnel classified positions,” he said. “Therefore we recommended that
Management estimates that turnover costs state government the state take immediate action to initiate a comprehensive
$85 million.” benchmark
Rectifying this situation is the responsibility of the study of
Governor’s Task Force on State Employee Compensation, a
committee suggested by OPEA and created by Gov. Brad
“W e also think that each
employee should receive a
Henry’s executive order. The committee, composed of repre- force. This
sentatives of both the private and public sector, met through- would need to personalized benefit report card
out the fall of 2007 and issued its report Jan. 1, 2008. be funded dur-
that accurately reflects the value of
According to Zearley, who served as a member of the com- ing the 2008
mittee, the task force was divided into three ad hoc commit- legislative cash compensation and benefits
tees, covering benefits, classified service and unclassified serv- session.” state employees receive.”
ice, with each assigned to address a specific issue and make Zearley – OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley
recommendations. He said based on OPM figures, the compe- added that the
tition for talent required to perform government services state should:
requires Oklahoma to adopt a compensation strategy capable ☛ Conduct a review of benchmark job families concerning
of successfully positioning the state to become an employer for pay and benefits for unclassified employees;
which people want to work. ☛ Develop a long-term medical-cost-containment strategy
“Almost 12 percent of our state employees are eligible to to minimize annual increases and plan utilization;
retire today,” Zearley said. “Within the next seven years, 42.6 ☛ Determine the competitiveness of retirement plans;
percent will be eligible. Since our workforce pool between the ☛ Evaluate longevity pay;
ages of 18 and 65 will decrease during that same time span, this ☛ Make recommendations for a strategy for providing
indicates that competition for quality employees will be intense.” annual cash compensation adjustments.
Zearley said the task force produced specific recommenda- “We have to establish uniform statutory criteria for author-
tions for the state of Oklahoma. izing unclassified service positions in merit system agencies,”
“The first finding of the committee was that there is no Zearley pointed out.
The committee also developed recommendations regarding
Turning Over employee turnover and employee benefits.
The following positions in state government have “We determined that OPM should develop a standardized
exit interview strategy, as well as surveys to ascertain the rea-
turnover rates above 10 percent per year.
sons why employees are joining state government,” Zearley
Police Officer I-V . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28% “One of our findings was that the state does not adequately
Case Manager I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33% explain to our employees their benefit packages, thus causing
Child Welfare Specialist I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31% both confusion and misuse,” he added. “We recommended that
Child Support Specialist I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42% a survey be conducted to determine the value employees place on
each benefit. We also think that each employee should receive a
Correctional Security Officer I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48%
personalized benefit report card that accurately reflects the value
Correctional Security Officer II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24% of cash compensation and benefits state employees receive.”
Fire Prevention and Security Officer II . . . . . . . . .24% The task force also found a lack of consistency regarding
Juvenile Justice Specialist I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21% the salaries of agency directors.
Transportation Equipment Operator I . . . . . . . . . .48% The committee’s final recommendation, though, will be
Psychological Clinician . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67% music to the ears of all state employees, Zearley said.
Patient Care Assistant I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49% “Finally we recommend that the governor and Legislature
implement a multiyear plan to bring and maintain state
Licensed Practical Nurse I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34% employee compensation and benefits to market level,” he said.
Registered Nurse I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23% “We also mentioned that any raises in salaries be accompanied
Direct Care Specialist I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65% with sufficient monies for payroll costs so that the funds do
Food Service Specialist I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41% not have to come from our already cash-strapped agencies.”
Juvenile Specialist I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46% For a complete copy of the Governor’s Task Force report,
Table 2 go to www.opm.ok.gov then to the Special Announcement
section in the right corner.
Page 8 • March 2008 • OPEA Advocate www.opea.org
Legislative Meetings Draw State
Employees In Large Numbers
In Ardmore: said there is a long line waiting for it to be appropriated.
“First and foremost this session will be for the Legislature
You Are Your Own Best Lobbyist to deal with the infrastructure of our Department of
Corrections,” he said. “That alone could cost up to $55
Facing what they called “the largest state employee crowd million.”
they’ve ever seen,” State Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield and State Also in line for spending this year, according to
Rep. Terry Hyman, both Democrats, addressed a group
that represented several state agencies Jan. 10 in
OPEA held similar meetings Jan. 17, both in
Lawton and Muskogee, and, in all three cases, state
employees showed up
“By all rights, we should in large numbers to
have anywhere from voice their opinions
and find out what they
$320 million to $370 can expect from their
million to be able to legislators during the
appropriate to serve the In Ardmore, OPEA
people of Oklahoma.The was represented by
tax cuts are really start- Communications
Director Bud Elder
ing to take their toll.” and Executive Director
State Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield Sterling Zearley, who,
along with retiree
Mike McComber, welcomed the crowd and introduced
Crutchfield offered what he called “the plain truth”
about legislative funding for the current legislative session.
“As co-chair of the Senate Appropriations State Sen Johnnie Crutchfield addresses the crowd at an OPEA-sponsored
Committee, I deal with all matters financial,” he said. meeting in Ardmore.
“And, as of the last reports, there will be only $32 mil-
lion in extra funds for the Legislature to spend this year.” Crutchfield, is some $88 million for Medicare, replacing
Crutchfield explained to the crowd that without tax cuts, recent federal budget cuts, and around $10 million to shore
lawmakers would have significantly more money to spend. up the teachers retirement system.
“By all rights, we should have anywhere from $320 million With this in mind, Crutchfield told the crowd that the
to $370 million to be able to appropriate to serve the people $80 million OPEA seeks for a $2,700 state employee pay raise
of Oklahoma,” might be difficult to achieve. However, he did leave some
he said. “The options open.
tax cuts are “There are ways of making a state employee pay raise hap-
really starting pen,” he said. “Perhaps we can offer a percentage raise or even
to take their a one-year stipend.”
toll.” Another path to a pay raise could involve appropriating
As far as funds for a half-year raise this year, followed by a permanent
the $32 mil- commitment for next year, he said.
lion is con- “I’m not saying that this is exactly what we’ll do,” he
OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley talks to cerned, pointed out. “These are only suggestions because I am sup-
the crowd during the Ardmore legislative meeting. Crutchfield portive of a raise.” (Continued On Page 10)
www.opea.org OPEA Advocate • March 2008 • Page 9
Legislative Meetings (Continued From Page 9)
Crutchfield also mentioned that he is for a per-
manent cost-of-living adjustment for retirees and
that the OPERS retirement system is in fairly good
After talking budget specifics, Crutchfield
moved on to the all-important lobbying process.
“While OPEA does a wonderful job for its
members at the Capitol, you are your own best
lobbyist,” he said, which prompted Zearley to
remind those in attendance that OPEA’s annual
Lobby Day at the Capitol will be held March 11.
Hyman also discussed state employee pay,
pointing out that the salaries of state workers are
connected to the state’s consistent underfunding of
“These agencies have had to take the hit in
their budgets to fund any kind of pay raises that
have been passed,” he said. “We need to fully fund
agencies for employee pay raises and benefits.”
He also mentioned tax cuts.
“I supported tax cuts because my constituents OPEA Board Vice President Connie Stockton asks a question during the Muskogee
made it clear they were for them,” he said. “But legislative meeting.
now we need to wait and see if the theory that the
cuts will spur the economy actually works before agency in the area was represented,” said OPEA Executive
implementing more.” Director Sterling Zearley. “Some 125 people crowded into that
Several members asked about the possibility of a return to room to hear their legislators give them the latest from the
the retirement rule of 80. Capitol.”
While Hyman told the crowd that the rule of 80 might be Speakers at the meeting included State Reps. Jerry McPeak
a dead issue because of its cost, Zearley reminded those in and George Faught and State
attendance that OPEA had asked for an actuarial study to get Sen. Earl Garrison.
“However, when 80
a true handle on the situation. McPeak told the crowd
that he is concerned about percent of the tax cuts go
the toll tax cuts could exact to only 20 percent of the
In Muskogee: from Oklahomans.
people, there is something
Highly-Charged And Informative “I voted against tax cuts,
but I certainly hope they wrong.”
Perhaps it was Jacquline McGuire, a DHS employee in work,” he said. “However, – State Rep. Jerry McPeak
Okmulgee, who said it best when she asked: “When did it when 80 percent of the tax
become more important to teach a child than to keep it safe?” cuts go to only 20 percent of
That sentiment, a reference to Oklahoma school teachers the people, there is something wrong.”
receiving pay raises McPeak complimented state employees on their work,
over state employ- pointing out that many had not received a pay raise in several
ees, along with years. He also had kind words for the Oklahoma Public
other heartfelt sto- Employees Association.
ries, observations “Those of you who don’t belong to OPEA need to join
and questions, immediately,” he said. “This is an important and impressive
were shared at a organization and truly the only voice for state employees at the
and informative McPeak assured those in attendance that he would always
legislative town support state employee issues and pay raises.
OPEA members with the Department of hall meeting at the “You deserve a pay raise,” he said. “When I found out that
Corrections listen to and talk with their legis- Muskogee Library. there were state employees who had gone 14 years without
lators at the Muskogee meeting.
“Every state one, I was shocked. I am also for (Continued On Page 11)
Page 10 • March 2008 • OPEA Advocate www.opea.org
Legislative Meetings (Continued From Page 10)
a perpetual COLA for state retirees.” been hard at work educating
An ODOT worker brought up a sobering thought nonmembers and building a
as McPeak ended his presentation. bridge of communications
“There are three of us here who have been inches with agencies including
away from being hit,” he said. “We have the most dan- Human Services, Health,
gerous jobs in the state and haven’t had a pay raise in Corrections, Juvenile Affairs
many, many years.” and Employment Security,”
Faught, a Republican, also talked about tax cuts but said OPEA Membership
from a different perspective. Representative Tarajee
“It is our feeling that the more money you have in Stevenson. “The meeting was a
your pockets, the more you will spend to bolster our huge success because of their
economy,” he said. hard work.”
Answering a direct question, Faught said state Five legislators attended the
employee salaries are a priority for Republicans. meeting: Reps. Don Armes,
Rep. T.W. Shannon, right, talks with consti-
“I understand that state employee pay raises are in Ann Coody, T.W. Shannon
tutents at OPEA’s meeting in Lawton.
discussion right now and Joe Dorman and Sen.
“I’m excited to hear from in House leadership offices,” Don Barrington.
he said, adding that he would “I’m excited to hear from a group other than the teachers,”
a group other than the
vote for a salary hike for state said Shannon. “And while I have nothing against teachers,
teachers. And while I workers. their unity and visibility have a lot to do with their success.”
have nothing against Garrison began his presen- Coody expressed her empathy with state employees with
tation by raising what could their ongoing battle to cure
teachers, their unity and become a popular idea. their seemingly incurable “We have to give you a
visibility have a lot to do “Oklahoma bailed out the issues. livable wage. I will
with their success.” oil companies in the 80s,” he “I would gladly support a
said. “And now that they are pay raise for state employees,”
always support pay raises
– Rep. T.W. Shannon enjoying record profits, per- she said. “However, while my for state employees and
haps it’s time, in a lean budg- single vote will not get a raise will also support the gov-
et year, to have them pay it back.” through, I believe that if all
“We have to give you a livable wage,” he added. “I will the elected officials here ernor should he decide to
always support pay raises for state employees and will also sup- tonight come together, we tap the Rainy Day Fund
port the governor should he decide to tap the Rainy Day Fund can have a greater impact by
for state employee raises.”
for state employee raises.” expressing our support when
In addition to hearing from state legislators, state employ- we are at the Capitol.” – Sen. Earl Garrison
ees discussed issues that affect the way they do their jobs. For Armes told the crowd that
example, a Health Department employee explained that the legislators at the meeting take their issues seriously, while
staffing at that agency is dangerously short. expressing his support for a pay raise. He also mentioned the
“We can’t take a day off because we don’t have enough importance of OPEA.
employees to get the job done,” she said. “You have a great lobbying group working for you,” he
After the legislators spoke, the floor was opened to questions.
In Lawton: Keith Tampkins, an employee of the Department of Rehabilitative
Turning Up The Heat Services, pointed out that his position as an employment specialist
requires him to have a college level education.
Armed with its 2008 Platform, the newly formed OPEA “However, I often place clients in positions that don’t
Comanche County chapter held its first legislative meeting in require any college education at more than I make,” he said.
Lawton, with some 80 state employees plus five local legisla- Another member of the audience said it is not uncommon for
tors discussing the 2008 legislative session. state employees to meet the qualifications for public assistance.
Formed in October, the chapter, under the leadership of Stevenson said the chapter has gotten off to a great start.
President Hank Swearingen of the Jim Taliaferro Community “These great state employees realize that they can truly
Mental Health Center, turned up the volume on its elected make a difference by realizing that they have many of the same
officials. issues and that, if they unite, their voices will be heard,” she
“Since officially becoming a chapter, these members have said.
www.opea.org OPEA Advocate • March 2008 • Page 11
Corrections Audit Confirms
Longtime OPEA Concerns
Many recommendations suggested private prisons because the state takes so dedicated to radar, field sobriety and
by a performance audit of the long to build new facilities. While the crime scene investigation, which are not
Oklahoma Department of Corrections agency is in a bind for additional beds necessary for the PPO job.
have been advocated by the because of the Legislature’s inac- “Officers often supplement their low
Oklahoma Public Employees tion, the move into more private state employee pay with weekend jobs as
Association over the past decade. beds is an expensive quick fix. peace officers,” said Zearley. “The associ-
The audit, completed in “OPEA believes the answer to ation believes that CLEET should be the
January by MGT of America, Inc., the building needs is a basic training for these positions.”
a national management research design/build/lease/purchase Several bills have been introduced to
and consulting firm located in option, which provides for state implement parts of the audit. OPEA
Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Fla.; operation of a privately-built facil- will work with DOC as the legislative
Olympia, Wash.; and Sacramento, ity,” said OPEA Executive session continues to be certain employ-
Calif.; is 295 pages long, includes Director Sterling Zearley. “This ees’ concerns are heard.
141 specific recommendations and has been the association’s position “The most important parts of the
cost $844,000. since the Keating years.” audit reaffirm OPEA’s long-held position
The audit commends the The auditors make specific that DOC needs additional staff and beds
DOC staff, which is plagued by recommendations for additional to meet its mission,” Zearley said. “Unfor-
understaffing and a poor work staff at several posts at the tunately, all state agencies face similar
environment. Oklahoma State Penitentiary. In addi-
“We were impressed by the profes- tion, they recommend that each facility
sionalism, enthusiasm and commitment be assessed individually for emergency
to excellence by staff at all levels of the staffing needs, instead of applying the
department,” the report notes in its 82 percent ratio to all facilities regard-
introductory letter. less of security level or mission. The
The audit is critical of the way state audit recommends that each facility be
leaders have funded the agency through provided adequate staff for cell searches
supplemental appropriations. This prac- and shakedowns.
tice has depressed staffing levels, leaving In recruitment and retention, the
state employees to suffer the conse- document indicates that the hiring
quences of bad fiscal management. process should be streamlined and that
The document also decries the con- the policy of rotating work schedules be
dition of the corrections infrastructure, revisited. Lowering the age of correc- OPEA members Richard Van Vort, Cory Day,
echoing a concern that OPEA has tional officers to 19 is also recommend- Bobby Callahan, Robert Jones and Johnny
repeatedly stated in reports and in meet- ed. Legislators have introduced bills to Turner at the 2008 OPEA DOC Lobby Day.
ings with legislators. Many of the facili- change the age by one year to 20.
ties were built in the early 1900s and Another part of the audit that affects problems. We look forward to perform-
were never meant to be prisons. Roofs OPEA members is the modification of ance audits on other state agencies, which
have been leaking for years and plumb- the CLEET requirements to create a will undoubtedly tell the same story.”
ing and electrical systems are obsolete special peace officer category for parole The audit’s list of recommendations
and overloaded. Automatic door locking and probation officers, with an accom- is located in Appendix A at the end of
systems, which are essential for medi- panying modification of the training the report, which can be found at
um-security prisons, have been disabled curriculum to make it more consistent www.okhouse.gov/documents/OKRVD
because of frequent malfunctions. with their duties and responsibilities. FinalReport080103.pdf. For the pur-
OPEA disagrees with the proposed The auditors question whether the jobs pose of providing information to OPEA
solution to the problem of decaying facili- of probation and parole officers require members in a short, readable format, a
ties and an inadequate number of beds. complete CLEET certification. Almost summary is posted on the OPEA Web
The auditors recommend expanding into 100 hours of the CLEET training is site under Agency News.
Page 12 • March 2008 • OPEA Advocate www.opea.org
You Should Make As Much As The New Kid
Y ou just found out that you don’t make
as much as the new kid the agency
recently hired to do the same job. Blame it
Burden Of Proof authority may provide equity-based pay are
By Melinda Alizadeh-Fard
adjustments when individual employees
significantly underpaid relative to other
on that Web site and the Tulsa World for OPEA General Counsel employees performing the same or similar
publishing exactly what duties, or employees with the same role or
everyone makes (See www.tulsaworld.com/- accountabilities, in the same job family and level within the
webextra/itemsofinterest/statepayroll/- same agency.”
statepayroll.aspx and www.ok.gov/okaa). For many of you who just found out that you don’t make as
Blame it on the fact that this is public much as the new kid the agency recently hired to do the same
information. Blame it on the lack of job, the relief you seek is within the scope of this provision,
expectation of privacy that state employ- which provides a state agency with an avenue for correcting this
ees and public officials have discrepancy. It may be tempting,
about their pay. Now anybody
can find out how many of our tax “T itle VII and the ADEA
however, to think that the use of
this provision is discretionary,
dollars are going into which pockets and who is specifically prohibit discrimination especially since this is one of those
wearing the pants that go along with those pockets. in compensation based on age, even many unfunded issues that must
Public information isn’t the problem; it’s the ramifi- be dealt with and since correcting
cations of that information. The problem is that you when such discrimination is not this discrepancy is not mandatory.
just found out you don’t make as much as the new intentional.” This brings us to age
kid the agency recently hired to do the same job. discrimination.
If this is true, you might just be a longtime state employee, This is a whole new animal for state agencies to contend
earning considerably less than newer employees hired into the with, since an ever-increasing percentage of active state employ-
same or even a lower level position as you, to perform the same ees are now part of a protected class consisting of persons over
duties. You have just come to realize the true meaning of what the age of 40. In a nutshell, age discrimination is prohibited by
George Orwell wrote in “Animal Farm”: “All animals are equal state and federal laws, and, hence, the practice of setting the
but some animals are more equal than others.” pay of new employees at a higher rate than that of older
Much of the problem stems from what may be a very real employees can be considered to be discrimination based on age.
perception that an agency cannot hire qualified new employees Title VII and the ADEA specifically prohibit discrimination
at the rates of pay that more tenured employees continue to in compensation based on age, even when such discrimination
work for. OPEA fully is not intentional but has resulted from personnel actions that
supports agencies hiring affect older workers differently than younger workers. The
“M uch of the problem at the market rate; howev- EEOC has determined that compensation discrimination exists
stems from what may be a very er, we will not condone when an employer maintains a compensation policy or practice
real perception that an agency leaving longtime state that has an adverse impact on older employees. This is exactly
employees behind with what happens when an agency hires newer workers at higher
cannot hire qualified new stagnant, below-market rates than what is being paid to long-term employees perform-
employees at the rates of pay wages. ing the same duties.
that more tenured employees Agencies have several If you just found out that you don’t make as much as the
ways to address the prob- new kid the agency recently hired to do the same job, there are
continue to work for.” lem of pay inequity for steps you must take immediately. Your starting point is to file a
classified employees, grievance within 20 days of becoming aware of the situation.
including incentive pay, skill-based pay adjustments, perform- As always, the staff at OPEA is available to assist our members
ance-based pay adjustments and the market adjustments being with this process. If you have been a member for more than
used for newer employees. There is also a ready tool in the per- 180 days, I am available as general counsel to represent you in
sonnel arsenal – equity-based pay adjustments provided for in appeals and to advise you concerning possible violations of
530:10-7-26. This provision states in part, “An appointing your civil rights.
The OPEA Mission Statement The OPEA Vision Statement
OPEA unites public employees in Oklahoma to OPEA will be a catalyst to make Oklahoma
improve the quality of state employment. a better place to live and work.
www.opea.org OPEA Advocate • March 2008 • Page 13
Government Relations School A
Hit With Savvy State Employees
A large group of politically “With a firm Republican
savvy state employees gathered leadership in the House and a
Jan. 12 to make history, as OPEA split Senate, OPEA is going to
and OPEAPAC sponsored their have to take a step into the
first ever Government Relations future by completely rethinking
School. the way it lobbies for legislation
From the first session of the and endorses candidates,” OPEA
day, “Lobbying in the New Executive Director Sterling
World: How to Think Zearley said. “We’re going to
Bipartisan,” with Pat Hall and Jim have to be very smart in our
Dunlap, to the commencement approach to this new political
address by then-Oklahoma House age.”
Speaker Lance Cargill, OPEA After the opening session,
members were told many times OPEA members at the OPEA/OPEAPAC Government Relations attendees had the opportunity to
that, because a new era has School: Left to right: Sheryl Edwards, Anita Cariker, Rena move into one of two education-
dawned in Oklahoma politics, the Scarbrough and Sharon McClanahan al sessions: “Getting Ink! What
association will have to change its the Media Wants,” with Mark
thinking about its traditional relationship with Democrats and Thomas, executive director of the Oklahoma Press
Republicans. Association, and Michael McNutt (Continued On Page 15)
Page 14 • March 2008 • OPEA Advocate www.opea.org
OPEA Members Can Buy Computers
Through Payroll Deduction Plan Who Are You
OPEA members can now purchase new computers and other
electronic equipment, regardless of their credit status, through
the convenience of payroll deduction.
Going To Call?
The program includes customized brand name computer bun- OPEA members only may call the OPEA office for:
dles from HP, Dell and
Gateway. Whether you Executive Director: Sterling Zearley S
want to further your r
education, enhance your i
career, give your children g
an advantage in the class- Legal Advocacy Program • Grievance Assistance: M
room or simply enjoy Melinda Alizadeh-Fard, General Counsel l
surfing the Internet, Purchasing Power and OPEA have the right n
bundle for you. a
Computer bundles include a monitor, all-in-one color print- Agency Information: Trish Frazier, Policy and Agency T
er, speakers, keyboard, mouse, software and a three-year Relations Director i
The benefits of Purchasing Power include:
☛ No credit check; Political Action: Scott Barger, Deputy Director S
☛ 12-month payment plan; o
☛ Easy payroll deduction; t
☛ Convenient home delivery.
To qualify for the Purchasing Power program, you must: Communications Information: Bud Elder, B
☛ Be at least 18 years old; Communications Director
☛ Have been a member of OPEA for at least one year;
☛ Earn at least $16,000 per year;
☛ Have a bank account or credit card, to be used in the Legislation Information: Nancy Hughes, N
event of nonpayment through payroll deduction. Executive Assistant
OPEA members will soon be receiving Purchasing Power c
material through the mail.
School (Continued From Page 14) Schedule A Meeting: Dean Balmer, Membership Director D
of The Daily Oklahoman; and “Work It! Leveraging Your
Job/Agency for Results,” with Mike Carrier.
Early afternoon educational sessions included “What a Schedule A Meeting: Tarajee Stevenson, Membership T
Legislator Wants,” hosted by former President Pro Tempore of a
the Senate Cal Hobson and State Rep. Trebor Worthen; and e
“Technology: Gizmos, Gadgets and Blogs,” with Ashley
Humphries of Element Fusion. Schedule A Meeting: Alicia Wright, Membership A
“There is no better friend of this association than Sen. Representative i
Hobson, and Rep. Worthen will be the House author of our pay i
raise bill this year,” Zearley said.
Zearley took the stage later with a session called “Direct General Information: Rachelle Johnson, Administrative R
Lobbying on Your Turf,” and Deputy Director Scott Barger Assistant c
offered a seminar titled “Grass Roots Genius - Developing Savvy e
Joining OPEA: Nancy Hughes or Rachelle Johnson l
“Speaking with Spark” culminated with a speech by Cargill,
who presented a brief outline of his vision for the future of (405) 524-6764 • (800) 880-OPEA (6732)
According to Zearley, now that the school is over, OPEA www.opea.org
members need to start applying their knowledge to make OPEA
a viable force at the Capitol. 13 N.E. 28th St. • Oklahoma City, OK 73105
www.opea.org OPEA Advocate • March 2008 • Page 15
A Workforce In Crisis
Pool Of Social Work Employees Continues To Shrink
Workforce experts have been warn- lead to increased turnover. don’t expect to get rich in their field but
ing of a national crisis in the field of “The one thing that keeps social simply to be recognized, and the state
social work for years, which comes as no workers coming back is the hope that should send a strong signal that
surprise to the OPEA DHS Council. they can make a difference,” said DHS Oklahoma is going to change the status
What is surprising to the council is that Board member Pat Dill. “Many times of these jobs. Money is a strong signal.”
few DHS employees seem willing to the agency does not have the resources Another common problem is promo-
work to solve the crisis. to do the job the way tions, which often offer the only way to
“Just look around
any DHS office, and
“W e like to say we care
it should be done.”
earn a salary increase. Workers sometimes
are forced to choose between a job they
you can see the coming about families and kids in nationally hover really enjoy and applying for a supervisory
crisis,” said DHS Oklahoma, but, according to around 40 percent, position they might not really want.
Council Chair Jim and, according to OPEA is suggesting that DHS consider
the U.S. Department of Labor,
Darst. “Retirement of OPM, DHS in adding three rungs to the social service job
many older workers and social services are consistently the Oklahoma does not ladder that include three levels of pay.
the constant difficulty lowest paid industries.” fair any better. “Several years ago in New York, the
in recruiting and retain- – OPEA Executive Director “Child Welfare state added three rungs and cut turnover
ing new workers leaves Sterling Zearley Specialist and Social in half,” Zearley said.
no question that the Service Specialist
workforce that is providing for the turnover rates are 30 percent and 26 What Can You Do?
health and welfare of many percent, respectively,” said Zearley. “You First, the DHS Council has put
Oklahomans will very soon be only a have some of the most critical work in together a survey to begin gathering
fraction of what it is today.” Oklahoma being done to save families information from the field. You may
According to a recent study by the and help Oklahomans have the best take the survey by visiting
Annie E. Casey Foundation, “Workers chance at meaningful lives, yet the peo- www.opea.org/department-of-human-
are retiring from the field. ... The next ple providing the service are ridiculously services-council.
generation of workers has little interest underpaid and underappreciated. And, Second, get everyone in your DHS
in pursuing careers in social services, because of the turnover, office to join OPEA
considering the positions generally pay
little more than minimum wage and
they’re ridiculously over-
worked since they have
“W orkers don’t expect to get and begin participat-
ing in a local chapter
involve a great amount of responsibility, to do someone else’s job
rich in their field but simply to or in starting one at
exposure to tragic events and little when other workers be recognized, and the state your office. Unity of
recognition.” quit.” should send a strong signal that purpose and voice is
“One thing that makes this job very OPEA wants to the best chance for
Oklahoma is going to change
unappealing is the incredibly low status break this vicious cycle, changing the current
assigned to it,” said OPEA Executive starting with the hiring the status of these jobs.” situation.
Director Sterling Zearley. “We like to process. – OPEA Executive Director Finally, make sure
say we care about families and kids in “It simply takes too Sterling Zearley your local chapter
Oklahoma, but, according to the U.S. long,” said Zearley. “We actively participates in
Department of Labor, social services are need to adopt a less bureaucratic process the OPEA DHS Council. The council
consistently the lowest paid industries.” that allows the agency to hire directly meets quarterly before meeting in the
Zearley said that according to most from the colleges and to keep interested afternoon with DHS Director Howard
recent compensation report from the and qualified workers at the ready so Hendrick. The DHS Council will be
Office of Personnel Management, em- when there is a vacancy, DHS can move the focal point for ideas, discussions and
ployees classified as Social Service Spec- in a new employee immediately.” strategies to implement all ideas for
ialist I are paid 15.78 percent below mar- But that, he said, is just the beginning. improving the social service field.
ket, while Child Welfare Specialist IIs lag “The state has to respond with For more information, contact Trish
behind 14.52 percent below the market. major salary increases for these positions Frazier at (800) 880-6732 or
Low salaries and lack of recognition and many others in DHS. Workers firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page 16 • March 2008 • OPEA Advocate www.opea.org
OPEAPAC Seeks Member Input In The OPEA Board
Candidate Endorsement Process
A significant change in the way that OPEAPAC endorses can-
didates is on the agenda for the current election cycle.
According to OPEAPAC Trustee Larry Kelley, the concept will
encourage local, member-driven involvement.
“We would like OPEA members to take the time to review the
form below and help us decide at which level to endorse local
politicians,” he said. Billy Moore Christie Biggs Kenneth Burrow Glen Coleman
He added that there are three questions members should President Veterans Council GRDA Council DOC Council
bill.moore@ cbiggs@ kenmarcia1@ glencoleman@
answer regarding their legislators: should OPEAPAC endorse this doc.state.ok.us odva.state.ok.us yahoo.com pldi.net
candidate?; should OPEAPAC endorse this candidate and also
provide financial support?; and should OPEAPAC endorse this
candidate with financial support as well as volunteers?
“This is a very important election cycle for OPEAPAC,” Kelley
said. “And it’s time that our members become active participants
in the process.”
OPEAPAC Endorsement Form Patricia Dill Jann Ensz Darren Francis Royce Harder
DHS Council DHS Council Natural OJA Council
patricia.dill jann.ensz@ Resources/Safety lil_royce@
@okdhs.org okdhs.org and Security hotmail.com
Candidate’s name ________________________________ fire.state.ok.us
Office the candidate is seeking ______________________
Glenn Hightower Dixie Jackson Patricia Fred Martin
Retiree Council Department of Naifeh-Parker Transportation/
Member’s name__________________________________ hightower@ Mental Health Education Transportation
cox.net Council Services/Human Authority Council
dljackso Resources Council fmartin@
@odmhsas.org tparker@ odot.org
Member’s E-mail ________________________________
Rate the candidate: Should OPEAPAC
❑ Simply endorse this candidate? Tom McDonald
oddfellow69@ mark.rainville Services/Human Resources/Safety
yahoo.com @okdhs.org Resources Council and Security
Endorse and contribute to this candidate? frush@ Council
Endorse, contribute and provide manpower to this
Please complete this form and return it to Scott Barger:
E-mail: email@example.com Betty Weber William Weldon
Fax: (405) 524-4671 Department of
Mail: Scott Barger • OPEA •13 N.E. 28th St. bettw@ aol.com
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
www.opea.org OPEA Advocate • March 2008 • Page 17
OPEA Bills burse funds recovered in the Retirement recommends lowering the age to
WorldCom settlement to the 19.
Compensation retirement systems. HB 3053: (Hickman)
Retirement COLAs for SB 1468: (Schulz)
SB 1379: (Corn) $2,700 across- Other all the systems: 4 per- Lowers the minimum
the-board pay raise for state cent for firefighters, age of service for cor-
employees, effective July 1, HB 2063: (Hyman) Allows police, law enforce- rectional officers from
2008. unclassified employees to receive ment, judges and OPERS; 2 per- 21 to 20. The correc-
a severance package in a reduc- cent for teachers. These are the tions audit recommends lowering
SB 1791: (Nichols) $2,700 tion-in-force (RIF). assumptions of each of the the age to 19.
across-the-board pay raise for systems.
state employees, effective July 1, HB 2786: (Mike Jackson) Creates SJR 42: (Constance
2008. a revolving fund in the Office of HB 3312: (McCullough) Johnson), SJR 60:
Personnel Management to allow Establishes a task force (Corn) Removes the
Insurance agencies to access matching on defined contribution governor from the
funds for the Education Loan retirement plan imple- parole process as rec-
SB 1609: (Wilson) Allows state Reimbursement Act. mentation. This would ommended in the corrections
employees to carry their children significantly lower retirement audit. Exempts “persons sen-
as dependents until age 25 if the SB 1487: (Eason McIntyre) benefits and change the state tenced to death or sentenced to
dependent is in an accredited Allows state employees to take pension to a 401k type of plan. life imprisonment without parole
college or CareerTech institution. 40 hours of additional leave to Three members of the task force or sentenced to imprisonment for
This would be added to the pro- volunteer for a 501(c)3 organiza- would be licensed to sell securi- a violent offense.”
vision that state employees can tion or mentor in a school. ties in the state and potentially
carry children as dependents profit from the change. SJR 61: (Eason
until age 23, with no enrollment SB 1553: (Gumm) Requires that McIntyre) HJR 1071:
in an education program state agencies submit job HB 2121: (Sparks) (Morrissette) HJR
required. descriptions to OPM, based on a Requires the 1092: (Pittman)
standardized format established Department of Removes the governor
Retirement by OPM. Commerce to disburse from the parole process, as rec-
funds recovered in the ommended in the corrections
SB 1110: (Lerblance) Rule of 80 Monitor Bills WorldCom settlement to the audit.
- changes the retirement calcula- retirement systems.
tion of age and years of service Green • OPEA supports the bill SB 2167: (Corn)
from 90 to 80. Privatization Makes the Pardon and
Yellow • OPEA is monitoring Parole Board a full-
SB 2162: (Leftwich) Requires the bill HB 3073: (Shannon) time board if the joint
that 10 percent of the excess Provides a penalty for resolution to remove
funds in the Rainy Day Fund be Red • OPEA opposes the bill. vendors that violate a the governor from the parole
transferred to the Oklahoma provision of OPEA’s process is passed by a vote of
Public Employees Retirement Compensation privatization act pro- the people.
System (OPERS) to help with the hibiting state employees with dis-
system’s unfunded liability. HB 2741: (Brannon) cretionary authority in awarding a HB 2957: (Tibbs)
OPERS and the judges’ system Five percent pay raise privatization contract from work- Requires the governor
run by OPERS are the only two for all state employ- ing for the vendor for one year. to act on paroles rec-
of seven state retirement sys- ees, effective July 1, The contractor would be ommended by the
tems that don’t have a designat- 2008. assessed a penalty in the amount Parole Board within 30
ed funding stream. of the employee’s prior year’s days or the Parole Board’s
Insurance salary, including benefits. approval is final; exempts mur-
SB 2180: (Sparks) Four percent der, rape and major drug traffick-
COLA for OPERS retirees, effec- HB 3108: (Ron Agency ing offenses.
tive July 1, 2008. Establishes a Peterson) Reduces the
2-percent COLA in every future benefit allowance to the HB 2710: (Billy) Lowers SB 1979: (Corn)
year. average of all plans the minimum age of Implements a provision
offered in the previous service for correctional of the corrections audit
HB 2968: (Hoskin) Requires the year. Will cost state employees officers from 21 to 20. allowing for special
Department of Commerce to dis- between $95 and $250. The corrections audit (Continued On Page 19)
Page 18 • March 2008 • OPEA Advocate www.opea.org
CLEET training for probation Agency Consolidation SB 2165: (Jolley) waivers from administrative
and parole personnel, creating And Transfers Transfers the duties of rules; be eligible for grants to
“special class peace officers.” the Human Rights support innovation.
HB 3074: (Shannon) Commission to the
HB 2474: (Walker) Transfers the duties of Department of Labor. SB 2046: (Nichols)
Increases fines for the Human Rights Amends the
persons convicted of Commission to the Government Reform Whistleblower Act to
endangering a high- Attorney General. allow persons to
way worker to no HB 3391: (Cargill) remain anonymous
more than $1,000; if the inci- HB 3249: (Lamons) Creates the by reporting information to the
dent results in injury to a high- Consolidates law Commission on Merit Protection Commission.
way worker to no more than enforcement agencies: Accountability and
$5,000; and no more than Oklahoma State Review of State Other
$10,000 if the incident results Bureau of Narcotics Agencies (CARSA) to review all
in death to a highway worker. and Dangerous Drugs, OSBI state agencies once every eight SB 1397: (Easley)
and the Office of the State Fire years and identify “waste, dupli- Requires OPM to
HB 2748: Marshal. cation and inefficiency.” contract with ven-
(Winchester) dors for private
Performance audit of SB 1709: (Coffee) SB 1753: (Sparks) licensed day care
the Department of Moves the office of the Allows agencies to facilities at county offices of
Human Services. Medical Examiner to enter into agreement DHS.
the OSBI. with the governor’s
SB 1525: (Anderson) office to become SB 1597: (Leftwich
Requires that DHS SB 1999: (Aldridge) “enterprise agencies.” These and McPeak) Allows
implement child wel- Abolishes the agencies may authorize bonus- an agency director
fare caseloads that Employee Benefits es to the director and employ- who is an elected offi-
“support implementa- Council by July 1, ees of up to 15 percent of their cial to conduct a
tion of national models of 2009. Moves the compensation; retain annual reduction-in-force (RIF) without
excellence.” duties to the Office of carryover; be exempt from FTE permission from the agency’s
Green -OPEA supports Personnel Management, or pay band restrictions; be cabinet secretary. Unclassifies
Yellow - OPEA is monitoring OSEEGIB and the Insurance exempt from the Central 61 positions in the Department
Red - OPEA opposes Commissioner. Purchasing Act; apply for of Labor.
Changes Being Considered In Benefit Allowance
The state employee benefit weight in the calculation. The more
allowance, an important part of “S tate employees need to tell their legislators expensive high-option HMOs, which
worker paychecks, has been chal- that their pay raise cannot be funded with their few employees choose, would receive
lenged by the governor’s budget and less weight.
prefiled legislation. benefit dollars.” HB 3108, introduced by Rep.
“Because of the way the benefit – OPEA Policy and Research Director Trish Frazier Ron Peterson, would calculate the
allowance is calculated, most state benefit allowance based on all plans,
employees pay for their health, life, dental and disability insur- not just the high-option plans. However, the benefit allowance
ance and have money left over,” said OPEA Policy and would be based on the prior year’s premiums, forcing state
Research Director Trish Frazier. “With pay well below market, employees to absorb the increased benefit cost.
these few dollars are critical to the survival of state employee “OPEA estimates that these proposals could cost state
families.” employees between $40 and $250 per month, depending on
Currently, the benefit allowance is calculated by taking the how many family members are covered,” said Frazier. “State
average of the high option plans, the average of the dental employees need to tell their legislators that their pay raise can-
plans, plus basic life and disability for individual employees. not be funded with their benefit dollars.”
Dependent insurance is 75 percent of the average of the high OPEA has met with Peterson to discuss the impact of the
option plans. proposal on state employees. He has agreed to work with the
According to the governor’s plan, the benefit allowance association on alternatives as the session progresses. Visit the
would be determined by giving the HealthChoice plan more OPEA Web site at www.opea.org for updates on this issue.
www.opea.org OPEA Advocate • March 2008 • Page 19
Has Your Legislator
Heard From You?
It is important that your legislator hears
from you. Your e-mails, letters and phone
calls will determine whether state employees
get a pay raise. Not sure how to contact
your legislator or even what to say? OPEA
has made it simple. Visit www.opea.org,
click on the Political Action link and click on
the Take Action link. You can enter your
home address and find your legislator, or
you can e-mail directly from the site.
☛ Compensation • State employees should receive an across-the-board pay increase of $2,700, effective July 1, 2008, to restore lost
purchasing power and begin closing the compensation gap between state employees and the market. A strategic plan should be adopted
to bring state employees to market by FY 2011.
☛ Retirement • OPERS retirees should be provided a 4-percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), effective July 1, 2008, with an annual
2-percent increase beginning July 1, 2009.
☛ Personnel and Workforce Planning • A revolving fund should be established by the Office of Personnel Management to fund the
State Employee Education Loan Reimbursement Act, passed during the 2007 legislative session.
☛ Budget • State agencies should be provided with funding for increases in operations, including retirement and insurance benefits,
fuel and equipment costs.
☛ Retirement • All state employees should be returned to the rule of 80.
Oklahoma Public Employees Association Membership Application
Please return to: OPEA, 13 N.E. 28th St., Oklahoma City, Okla. 73105 or visit www.opea.org.
First Name _________________________________________________________ Last Name _________________________________________________________________________________
Address _______________________________________________________________________________ City __________________________State ______________ Zip __________________
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Agency __________________________________________________Work Location _______________________________________________________ Position __________________________
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Payroll Deduction Authorization
I hereby authorize the state of Oklahoma to deduct from my pay the amount checked below required to purchase dues in the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, subject to my right to revoke
this order by written notice to my employer.
❑ $15 ❑ $15______________+_________ (Members may choose to pay more to help the Association further its goals.)
Signature _____________________________________________________________Last Four Digits SS# ________________ Birth Date ______________________________________________
OPEA’s standard dues are $15 per month. Annual dues: state employees - $180; retirees - $60; associates - $20; corporate affiliates - $300. Contributions or gifts to OPEA are not deductible as
charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. However, dues payments are deductible as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. Dues include your annual subscription to The Advocate (a $4
value). Your $15 monthly dues payment includes a $2.25 contribution to OPEAPAC.
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