Justin Brown and Kevin Stitt

Gov. Kevin Stitt introduces new Oklahoma DHS Director Justin Brown during a news conference June 4, 2019. Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman file

OKLAHOMA CITY — More than half of the employees at Oklahoma's Department of Human Services will receive 13% pay raises starting next month.

Approximately 3,700, or 62%, of the agency's employees will receive pay raises as a result of the agency eliminating 400 funded but unfilled positions.

New DHS Director Justin Brown, whom Gov. Kevin Stitt tapped in June to lead the department, announced the pay raises at a news conference Thursday at the Oklahoma History Center.

By eliminating 400 vacant positions, Brown said DHS was able to free up $10.8 million in appropriations. The positions have been unfilled for years.

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