State workers go years without pay hikes
BY World's Editorials Writers
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
12/04/12 at 2:55 AM
Should Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers be paid more? Of course they should. Starting pay for cadets is only $33,192, which increases to only $38,000 once the trooper graduates and gets on the road.
According to Department of Public Safety and OHP officials, that's well below the typical pay for other law enforcement agencies in the state. Not surprisingly, pay is a factor in attracting and retaining troopers. After all, why would a young person interested in law enforcement as a career pick one of the lowest-paying agencies, when an equally rewarding career with higher pay is available?
The OHP is hoping to get enough funding to raise trooper pay to the average of the top three law enforcement agencies in the state.
In part because of funding issues, the OHP has only 776 troopers on the job even though it is authorized to have 925. Like many law enforcement agencies, the OHP has had to cancel academy classes in recent years because of the recent economic woes.
What's more, more than 200 troopers employed currently are eligible for retirement.
The pay issue for troopers is compounded by the fact that they receive pay increases up through seven years of service, and then they don't receive additional pay hikes unless they are promoted.
As the state continues to face tough economic times, the OHP will be among a large throng of state employees who arguably are due pay hikes. State employees are in their seventh year without a pay increase.
As long as state leaders are more interested in cutting taxes than such functions as maintaining a quality work force and improving state services, more of the same is likely what is in store.
Original Print Headline: Overdue