, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

October 23, 2012

Okla. lawmakers eye performance pay for workers

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — State workers in Oklahoma, who haven't seen a pay increase since 2006, shouldn't expect an across-the-board salary boost anytime soon, but several state leaders said Tuesday they support the idea of raises tied to performance reviews and private-sector wages.

The chairman of the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee and the secretary of finance both said that while they oppose the idea of set pay increases for all state workers, they are willing to support a performance-pay system.

Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger, one of the governor's top budget negotiators, stopped short of saying it would be included in Gov. Mary Fallin's next budget proposal, but he added: "It's something we're talking about."

The last pay hike for state workers was an across-the-board 5 percent increase in 2006 when Democrats controlled the state Senate and the governor's office. Republicans are now in control of the legislature and the governor's office, and Doerflinger said targeted pay increases is in line with fiscal conservatism.

"If we begin to utilize performance appraisals in an appropriate manner, we will begin to be able to identify what I like to call 'rock stars' or people who rise to the top," Doerflinger told members of the House budget panel Tuesday. "It also allows you to coach people who are not performing at the level you would expect, and additionally, move poor performers out of your organization."

Sterling Zearley, the executive director of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, said he is working with state Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, to develop a multi-year plan that would boost state worker pay to at least 80 percent of the private-sector average and then develop a plan that would give the highest performers among Oklahoma's 34,000 state workers a pay increase.

"I think it's a great idea, because you need to make sure you're paying employees that are performing well," Zearley said. "You have some positions now that are 40 to 50 percent below market. You've got to bring that position itself somewhere toward market."

Because the pay-for-performance matrix hasn't been developed, there were no projections on how much it would cost the state.

State Rep. Earl Sears, the chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, said while he believes it's possible lawmakers could approve a salary boost and a cut in the state income tax, he said state leaders would first need to see how much revenues grow before next year's session that begins in February.

"I think it's too early to say," said Sears, R-Bartlesville. "I think we can, but by the same token, until we see all the pieces of that puzzle ... there's just a lot of factors that need to go into that."

Text Only
Oklahoma News
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

     View Results
Featured Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.