Enid lawmaker seeks to boost state employee pay
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Friday, December 07, 2012
12/07/12 at 5:21 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Enid lawmaker has filed a bill that would increase pay for state workers who haven't had a raise since 2006.
Senate Bill 10, by Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, would give a 5 percent pay raise to those making less than $40,000, according to the measure.
Those making $40,000 and more would get a 2 percent pay raise, the measure says.
Anderson said the measure would cost about $30 million.
"It is a big number, but when you break it down by employee, it is about a $1,000 increase a year and when you break that down over 12 months, it is less than $100 a month individually," Anderson said Thursday.
Anderson said he is not married to the proposal, but it is important that the issue be discussed.
"I would be happy to support a better idea out here," Anderson said. "Whether it is my idea of someone else's, I think it is important we get this addressed."
Oklahoma Public Employees Association Executive Director Sterling Zearley said while the group appreciates Anderson's willingness to look at the issue, they hope to work toward a measure that would decrease the discrepancy between what public employees earn and what the private market pays.
"Now, the average is 19 percent below market," Zearley said.
The discrepancy goes down when public employee benefits are included, he said.
Zearley said the association is working with Rep. Leslie Osborne, R-Mustang, to craft a measure to reduce the discrepancy between private and public sector pay.
Osborn held an interim study on the issue. She could not be reached for comment.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Oklahoma Department of Public Safety are among agencies that have made employee raises a priority.
During the recession, many state agencies were forced to reduce staff and absorb cuts.
If Anderson's measure is approved and signed, the raises would take effect July 1, according to the measure.
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465