MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

December 6, 2013

Study: State workers have low pay but good benefits

OKLAHOMA CITY — State workers in Oklahoma are paid less than their counterparts both in other states and the private sector, but their health and retirement benefits are more generous, according to a state-commissioned study released Friday.

Gov. Mary Fallin and GOP legislative leaders requested the $200,000 study, which was overseen by a working group that included officials from the governor’s office, Legislature, state agencies and the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.

Two independent consulting firms, Kenning Consulting and Hay Group, conducted the study.

The study shows that when salary and benefits are combined, the total compensation of state employees is about the same as those from comparable states and more than 7 percent below the private market.

“Gov. Fallin is serious about working with legislators to address the findings of this study, particularly the imbalance between employee pay and benefits,” Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said. “She also hopes to act in the next legislative session to provide a pay increase to state employees who are being paid the furthest below market value.”

The study showed some state managers, auditors, comptrollers and attorneys were among those whose salaries most significantly trailed those in the private sector.

The recommendations in the study include: appropriating $41 million next year to help fund pay hikes for targeted workers and a performance-based pay initiative, making changes to employee benefit packages, and discouraging the use of across-the-board pay increases or salaries that are covered under state statute.

The president of a group that represents state workers says the study shows it’s time for legislators to get serious about increasing state employee salaries.

“State workers already know that their salaries are low and this study confirms it,” said OPEA President Jess Callahan, a social worker in Choctaw County. “For the state to provide necessary services, this must be a legislative priority now and in the future.”

The study also could lend support to Fallin and other GOP leaders’ push to change the retirement plan for newly hired state workers. They want it to shift from the current traditional defined-benefit plan to a 401(k)-style defined-contribution retirement account.

1
Text Only
Oklahoma News
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Poll

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

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

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.
Stocks