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ADVOCATE-March 08

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					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
Moore Comments
                                                                   important to examine the details.
By OPEA President Billy Moore . . . . . . . . . . 4
                                                                                                                                                       Page 5
State Employees No Longer Want To
Stand In Line Behind The Teachers                                  Legislative Meetings Draw State
Frontlines
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
                                                                                                                                                   Page 12
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
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: general@opea.org • 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
OPEA Staff
Executive Director - Sterling Zearley (sterlingz@opea.org); Deputy Director - Scott Barger (scottb@opea.org); Policy and Agency Relations Director - Trish Frazier, MPA (trishf@opea.org); Executive
Assistant - Nancy Hughes (nancyh@opea.org); Membership Director - Dean Balmer (deanb@opea.org); Communications Director and Special Projects - Bud Elder (bude@opea.org); General Counsel
- Melinda Alizadeh-Fard (melindaa@opea.org); Membership Representative - Tarajee Stevenson (tarajees@opea.org); Membership Representative - Alicia Wright (aliciawright@opea.org);
Administrative Assistant - Rachelle Johnson (rachellej@opea.org).
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
                                                            Frontlines
                                                                                      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
for staff.”
    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
                                                            Patricia Naifeh-Parker.
services.
    “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
                             professional
                             organizations
                                                 to me.
                                                     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
                                Table 1
                                                                                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
                                                                            Oklahoma’s
                                                                            entire work-
                                                                                               “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
                                                                            said.
 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
Ardmore.
     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
                                      2008 session.
   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
the legislators.
      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
shape.
     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
state agencies.
     “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
                                                   highly-charged            Capitol.”
                                                   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
                                                                         said.
                                                                             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
                                                                                                                              t
                                                                                                                              e
                                         want to further your                                                                 r
                                                                                                                              l
                                         education, enhance your                                                              i
                                                                                                                              n
                                         career, give your children                                                           g

                                         an advantage in the class-   Legal Advocacy Program • Grievance Assistance:          M
                                                                                                                              e
                                         room or simply enjoy         Melinda Alizadeh-Fard, General Counsel                  l
                                                                                                                              i
surfing the Internet, Purchasing Power and OPEA have the right                                                                n
                                                                                                                              d
bundle for you.                                                                                                               a

    Computer bundles include a monitor, all-in-one color print-       Agency Information: Trish Frazier, Policy and Agency    T
                                                                                                                              r
er, speakers, keyboard, mouse, software and a three-year              Relations Director                                      i
                                                                                                                              s
warranty.                                                                                                                     h

    The benefits of Purchasing Power include:
    ☛ No credit check;                                                Political Action: Scott Barger, Deputy Director         S
                                                                                                                              c
    ☛ 12-month payment plan;                                                                                                  o
                                                                                                                              t
    ☛ 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
                                                                                                                              u
                                                                                                                              d
    ☛ 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
                                                                                                                              a
                                                                                                                              n
    OPEA members will soon be receiving Purchasing Power                                                                      c
                                                                                                                              y
material through the mail.

School             (Continued From Page 14)                           Schedule A Meeting: Dean Balmer, Membership Director    D
                                                                                                                              e
                                                                                                                              a
                                                                                                                              n

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
                                                                                                                              a
                                                                      Representative                                          r
Legislator Wants,” hosted by former President Pro Tempore of                                                                  a
                                                                                                                              j
the Senate Cal Hobson and State Rep. Trebor Worthen; and                                                                      e
                                                                                                                              e
“Technology: Gizmos, Gadgets and Blogs,” with Ashley
Humphries of Element Fusion.                                          Schedule A Meeting: Alicia Wright, Membership           A
                                                                                                                              l
    “There is no better friend of this association than Sen.          Representative                                          i
                                                                                                                              c
Hobson, and Rep. Worthen will be the House author of our pay                                                                  i
                                                                                                                              a
raise bill this year,” Zearley said.
    Zearley took the stage later with a session called “Direct        General Information: Rachelle Johnson, Administrative   R
                                                                                                                              a
Lobbying on Your Turf,” and Deputy Director Scott Barger              Assistant                                               c
                                                                                                                              h
offered a seminar titled “Grass Roots Genius - Developing Savvy                                                               e
                                                                      Joining OPEA: Nancy Hughes or Rachelle Johnson          l
Members.”                                                                                                                     l
                                                                                                                              e
    “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)
Oklahoma.
    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.”
                                                                            Turnover rates
                                                                                                       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                     trishf@opea.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
                                                                                                                  Council
                                                                                                                fmplans@
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
                                                                                                              sib.state.ok.us

Member’s E-mail ________________________________


Rate the candidate: Should OPEAPAC

❑     Simply endorse this candidate?                                Tom McDonald
                                                                      DHS Council
                                                                                        Mark Rainville
                                                                                         DHS Council
                                                                                                               Forrest Rush
                                                                                                                Education
                                                                                                                                 Connie Stockton
                                                                                                                                      Natural


❑
                                                                     oddfellow69@       mark.rainville       Services/Human      Resources/Safety
                                                                       yahoo.com         @okdhs.org         Resources Council       and Security
      Endorse and contribute to this candidate?                                                                   frush@              Council
                                                                                                              sib.state.ok.us       cstockton@


❑
                                                                                                                                oklahomaparks.com
      Endorse, contribute and provide manpower to this
      candidate?


  Please complete this form and return it to Scott Barger:
                 E-mail: scottb@opea.org                                                 Betty Weber        William Weldon
                    Fax: (405) 524-4671                                                 Department of
                                                                                        Health Council
                                                                                                             DOC Council
                                                                                                              weldoni2@
        Mail: Scott Barger • OPEA •13 N.E. 28th St.                                         bettw@              aol.com
                                                                                       health.state.ok.us
                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.

                                                                                    Our Goals
 ☛ 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 __________________
Home Phone (        ) __________________________________________________________ Work Phone (                   ) ________________________________________________________________
Home E-mail __________________________________________________________________ Work E-mail _____________________________________________________________________
Agency __________________________________________________Work Location _______________________________________________________ Position __________________________
Work Location Address _________________________________________________________________________________________City _________________State ________ Zip ____________
Work Fax Number (      ) _______________________________ Who introduced you to OPEA? ________________________________________________________________________________

                                                                               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.
                                                                                        Dues Options:
❑ $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.
                                                                   ❑ I do not want $2.25 per month of my dues to go to OPEAPAC.
Office use only:                   ___Amt                      ___Proc                        ___Tran                    ___CC                      ___WLC                      ___NMP



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Page 20 • March 2008 • OPEA Advocate                                                                                                                                         www.opea.org

				
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