Skip to comments.Oklahoma State Department Heads Receive Massive Pay Increases
Posted on 12/29/2013 6:06:29 AM PST by LD Jackson
This is somewhat of an older story, but one I had not seen. I was alerted to it by something that was posted on State Representative John Bennett's Facebook wall, which started me digging into the facts. As we are coming to the end of the year, I believe it should count as one of the most egregious stories to come out of Oklahoma in 2013. I believe the citizens of Oklahoma deserve an explanation from Governor Mary Fallin. I would like to know why at least five state department heads have received large pay increases in 2013. When you see the details, I am sure you will have a few of your own questions.
The Oklahoman - Oklahoma Tourism Executive Director Deby Snodgrass was granted a $40,000 pay increase last week, making her the latest of several state agency heads to be awarded five-digit salary increases and sparking criticism from the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.I'll save you the trouble of doing the math. These increases range from about a 10% to 60% increase. My disagreement with these raises has nothing to do with the job performance of any of the people receiving the increase. Instead, I can't help but wonder why these department heads are receiving a pay increase of such substantial proportions, when the rank and file employees of the state of Oklahoma are receiving no increase at all. This comes during a time when our state needs to be vigilant about its finances and to exercise frugality in the manner in which the taxpayer's money is spent.
Besides Snodgrass, other state agency heads confirmed by The Oklahoman to have received large pay increases this year include Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Director Stan Florence, whose pay was increased by nearly $47,000 in June; Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Commissioner Terri White, whose salary was raised by nearly $40,000 in September; and state Banking Commissioner Mick Thompson, whose salary was raised by about $14,000 in May.
Florence's salary went from $80,138 to $127,000, White's salary rose from $133,455 to $173,318, and Thompson's salary went from $137,239 to about $151,000.
In addition, the salary of Oklahoma's secretary of state was raised from $90,000 to $140,000 when Gov. Mary Fallin announced last week that she had appointed former House Speaker Chris Benge to succeed Larry Parman in that position, said Michael McNutt, the governor's press secretary.
Republicans who claim to be fiscal conservatives are in charge of our state government. I voted for some of them, including Governor Mary Fallin. That does not excuse them from practicing the conservative principles they campaigned on. Excuse me for being so blunt, but handing out such large increases to government appointees is not a good example of frugality or fiscal conservatism. I would contend it is a far cry from meeting that criteria and I believe the citizens of Oklahoma deserve a better explanation than the one they have been given.
For some time, Oklahoma has laid claim to being one of the most conservative states in the union. If these actions continue, we may have to relinquish our right to that distinction.
Time for a PEON Revolt!
It just shows how stupid elected officials think we really are!!
My view will be unpopular on this and I live in Oklahoma, so my taxes go to pay their salaries.
The raises are large, but the amounts being paid before the raises seem below market to me, even in Oklahoma where cost of living is lower than most.
It’s not like these employees are making $ 500,000 a year such as the frauds in CA were doing. The salaries paid after the raises don’t seem unreasonable if I where to hire people to do similar work in the private sector.
These bureaucratic idiots may just be living in the wrong state. They thought Oklahoma would react like the zombie Californians do.
Rise up, Oklahoma and demand these obscene raises be cancelled!
In 2005 when the Republicans who controlled our legislature in PA along with the Dems including then Gov. Ed Rendell signed off on 16 percent pay hikes for legislators and 34 percent pay hikes for legislative leaders, the anger from the people forced them to repeal it.
The big spending liberals of the Republican Party.....I have said that over 90 percent of the elected GOP officials in this country fake conservatism.
Here is proof that this reality includes the great state of Oklahoma.
Bobby Jindal tried to push some double digit percentage pay increases for legislators some years ago in Louisiana but had to back off after a public outcry.
I see your point, and as the head of large agencies, employing massive payrolls, with tremendous responsibilities, their new salaries are well within competitive guidelines, comparable to those of equal status both inside and out of government..
However, to do the deed, of raising them without a public dialogue, and in a so called cloakroom deal, smacks of business as usual, in this political climate.. She, and the leadership, surely needs to explain themselves, in the most public way..
The only defense I can see, is that it doesn’t appear the raises are a singular political payback, as there is an across the board standardization, and may have been a well planned, coordinated method, to bring the Oklahoma State scale, up to par with national norms.. Not that, that would excuse the secrecy, if it wasn’t well published..
OK and TX are not as “conservative” as their national image. There are plenty of liberals, particularly in Houston and Austin, Texas.
Bureaucrats need to keep ahead of the inflation that ain’t happening...
Wish Texas would just go ahead and annex us. Or maybe float a bond issue and buy Oklahoma.
Wouldn’t be too bad to be annexed by Texas - I remember the old joke (from a female bartender in the NCO club at Altus) that a Texan was a Mexican on his way to Oklahoma (she’d be fired for that today). It seems that Kalifornia has succumbed but Texas can still be saved, especially with a bigger population base. Maybe they can also spread out and take Louisiana and Mississippi too -that ought to make Texas a real powerhouse and dilute the mix a bit at the same time.
Hopefully those state employees, lower level, who’ve been paying into the state retirement fund, will have a nice retirement package when they reach “that” age, unlike some states who’ve run out of retirement money.
OK is more conservative than you imply, it is the only state in the union that had zero counties go to obama.
“”The salaries paid after the raises dont seem unreasonable if I where to hire people to do similar work in the private sector.””
I would love to see the private sector job equivalent to these in a state or ANY government:
Tourism Director =
State Bureau of Investigation Director =
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Commissioner =
State Banking Commissioner =
I have heard that argument for over 60 years and have never seen any private sector job that had the requisite duties of those agency heads created for a bureaucracy!
Tourism Director would be equivalent to a Vice President of Marketing for let’s say Williams Co. or Devon Energy. The director is marketing the state of Oklahoma to build tourism much like a marketing VP would do for a company.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Director would be similar to CEO of Laureate Psychiatric Clinic in Tulsa. Needs similar qualifications to run the state agency.
State Banking Commissioner is much like the COO of F&M Bank or BancFirst. Needs to have similar abilities to manage the oversight of the agency to regulate state chartered banks.
Stare Bureau of Investigation Director does not have a similar match to the private sector, but compare to large municipal police departments in OKC or Tulsa.
The adjusted salaries paid to the people listed in the original article do not seem excessive to what executives make in the private sector for similar jobs in the state. The article didn’t even look at raises given in the past, when were they, how much and then was the final amount paid reasonable?